Being a product of Mrs. Blumberger’s remedial reading class, it took me a full three weeks to read the redacted Mueller Report. It does not read like Mark Twain, so it was pretty tough sledding for me. But I managed to condense it here to one page for those of you who might be working three jobs.
The most telling sentence, the sentence that establishes the framework of the report to my mind, is this veiled cry for further investigation: “A statement that the investigation did not establish particular facts does not mean there was no evidence of those facts.”
That oblique sentence suggests to me that when Congress finishes digesting the Mueller Report, it should be on deck and ready to begin investigating anew.
Mueller’s report convincingly concludes that Russian interference in our 2016 election was intended to support Donald Trump and sow discord in our political system. Mission accomplished. Facebook estimated Russian operators reached as many as 126 million persons through its accounts, and the GRU stole approximately 300 gigabytes of data from the DNC cloudbased account. WikiLeaks got its shovel in there, too, as Julian Assange aired his personal opinion of Hillary Clinton, “She’s a bright, well connected, sadistic sociopath.” Personally, I would pay $5 to hear her opinion of him.
As to Paul Manafort, the office could not reliably determine Manafort’s purpose in sharing internal polling data with Kanstantin Kilimnik during the campaign period, though I could venture a guess, and I would not need the benefit of spirits to do it.
Volume I concludes, “… evidence was not sufficient to charge that any member of the Trump Campaign conspired with representatives of the Russian government to interfere in the 2016 election.”
Where Volume I establishes what was done and not done, Volume II suggests what can still be done. “… we determined that there was a sufficient factual and legal basis to further investigate potential obstruction-of-justice issues involving the President.
“Our investigation found multiple acts by the President that were capable of exerting undue influence over law enforcement investigations, including the Russian-interference and obstruction investigations. Congress can permissibly criminalize certain obstructive conduct by the President, such as suborning perjury, intimidating witnesses, or fabricating evidence.”
In full disclosure, when the report suggested, “See Black’s Law Dictionary,” I took a walk.
“Because we determined not to make a traditional prosecutorial judgment, we did not draw ultimate conclusions about the president’s conduct. Fairness counseled against potentially reaching that judgment when no charges can be brought. At the same time, if we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the president clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state.
“An immunity from prosecution for a sitting president would not preclude such prosecution once the president’s term is over or he is otherwise removed from office by resignation or impeachment.
“Accordingly, while this report does not conclude that the president committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.
“The conclusion that Congress may apply the obstruction laws to the president’s corrupt exercise of the powers of office accords with our constitutional system of checks and balances and the principle that no person is above the law.”
Mr. Mueller has agreed to testify before two congressional committees in open session on July 17. Stay tuned.
McAvoy Layne is a 30-year impressionist of Mark Twain who can be reached at GhostofTwain.com.