After nearly two years, Robert Mueller’s Special Counsel investigation into Russia’s interference in our 2016 election has come to a close. On Sunday, Attorney General William Barr announced (among other findings) that Mueller’s team had found no collusion between President Trump and the Russian government.
However you feel about Trump, it was a good day for America. Our sitting president and his family didn’t commit treason. They didn’t coordinate with another country to steal the election. But not everyone is celebrating.
A lot of people, especially on the Left, had invested an extraordinary amount of time and passion in the belief that collusion was a certainty. This included politicians and many in the media — journalists and commentators who were absolutely convinced (or at least pretended to be) that Mueller’s report would mark the end of Trump’s presidency. They pushed the narrative to their viewers and readers at every opportunity, virtually presenting their suspicions and wishful thinking as fact.
Now — disheartened, angry, and with egg on their faces — several are clinging to the notion that there’s much more between Trump and Russia that needs to be uncovered. Having previously placed complete faith in the Mueller investigation, they’re now framing the probe as just the beginning, and calling on the Democratic Congress to finish the job.
It’s a sad thing to watch, but these folks aren’t the only losers in this story.
Many on the Right have spent the last two years, at the direction of President Trump, smearing an honorable patriot in Robert Mueller. They insisted that Mueller was a vindictive, anti-Trump partisan who was running a corrupt investigation with the sole purpose of taking Trump down. They declared the probe to be illegitimate — a farce. This theme was fueled day after day by prominent media-conservatives who branded Mueller an agent of the Democrats and a Deep State plant.
Now this crowd is rejoicing over the vindication of their guy, and hailing the results of an investigation they tried very hard to delegitimize while Mueller and his team remained professional and completed their extremely difficult job. Sadly, this camp — like their counterparts on the Left — is expressing no guilt whatsoever over recklessly undermining an important legal establishment for political purposes.
If anyone should be gloating, it’s those who reserved judgement, and waited for the investigation to conclude before drawing definitive conclusions. They didn’t make fools of themselves. But in the media and elsewhere, such people were few and far between.
What has largely been lost in all of this — much to the disservice of our nation — is the true and expressed intent of the Special Counsel (which was put in place as a result of Trump’s controversial firing of James Comey).
Despite Trump and much of the news media framing Mueller’s investigation as being all about collusion, it wasn’t. It was about Russian interference in the election — something that every American should have wanted to get to the bottom of (though many didn’t, out of fear it would implicate someone they liked). In the end, Mueller’s unearthing of wrongdoing got indictments, convictions, and guilty pleas from 34 people and three companies. This was not a wasted or unproductive effort.
And again, the vindication of Trump on collusion charges was not a failure of the Special Counsel. It was a success. The job was to get to the truth, and the investigators did so to the best of their capacity. Trump had cast a lot of suspicion on himself through numerous statements on Russia and the hiring of some really bad people with Russian ties. But in the end, the rule of law was applied and Trump was cleared.
In the aftermath, the anti-Trump crowd is calling for the full release of the Mueller report, while the pro-Trump crowd is calling for the full release of documents detailing the grounds for the collusion component of the Russia investigation (including FISA applications, testimony in secret hearings, Rod Rosenstein’s scope memorandum, etc.).
Good. All of this should be done (except in cases of legitimate national security concerns). Just as the president isn’t above the law, neither are those who were involved in the investigation process. Let’s look at everything we can.
But let’s also not lose sight of those — especially those in Washington and in the media — who shamelessly politicized the investigation to the point that Americans were inundated with wild conspiracy theories and left with undue reason to believe that our national institutions were crumbling before our very eyes.
Unfortunately, there won’t be any societal retribution for these bomb throwers. They’ll just move on to, and capitalize off of, the next partisan debacle. And the tribes will continue to willingly follow and believe them.
Because that’s where we’re at as a nation.