It’s really too early to conclude anything, since nobody outside of a tight circle within the Justice Department knows more than a tiny bit about what it says, but it looks like the Mueller Report is a bust. It looks like the Trump Crime Family skates. No more indictments. Donald “if it’s what you say it is I LOVE it” Junior skates. Orange Mussolini skates. Two years and all I got was this lousy T-shirt.
What I and a lot of other people have been forgetting is the narrow scope of Mueller’s writ, and the brute fact that he’s a prosecutor, sworn by law and duty-bound to present only the evidence he honestly believes will amount to proof beyond a reasonable doubt. If he can’t prove it, he can’t allege it; he can’t be like Mugsy in the cartoon and yell “I don’t know how you’s dunnit, but I know you’s dunnit!” Mueller’s report may yet prove to contain factual assertions from which reasonable inferences can be drawn, but Mueller wasn’t in the “reasonable inferences” business. It wasn’t his mandate to tell us to put two and two together and fill in the gaps. There’s a huge difference between what he believes, based on what he knows, and what he can say to the public. It’s unclear the extent to which he can and will explain his decisions not to indict by laying out the evidence he collected, and telling us what he thinks it means even if he can’t prove anything criminal. He’s a prudent, disciplined sort of fellow, and he won’t want to seem at all partisan. He belongs to the “just the facts, ma’am” school. I don’t see him indulging in a great deal of extrapolation or conjecture, but then, I actually don’t know jack, and Mueller may feel a duty to Congress as well as Main Justice.
Either way, it looks at the moment like Mueller can’t prove criminal conspiracy with the Russians – wouldn’t Junior be indicted if he could? – so get ready for it. We’re in for at least two years’ worth of NO COLLUSION NO COLLUSION and cries of sweet vindication from the sentient Cheeto. We liberals can suck it. Our beloved champion didn’t deliver the goods. Clearly, Donald’s historically huge electoral victory was utterly legitimate. It was all Fake News. Mueller, who just yesterday was a Democratic stooge, will be the honest author of the most thorough investigation ever conducted, and he didn’t get the goods because there are no goods. Brace yourself. It’s going to be like a goddam fire hose.
It’s cold comfort, at this point, that there are numerous other investigations now ongoing, some or all which will almost certainly prove that Donald and his greasy brood have been weaving a tapestry of criminal illegality over New York State, and lots of other places, for many decades. The money laundering, the tax evasion, the insurance fraud, the bank fraud, the general lying, cheating and stealing; at least some of it has to catch up with somebody at some point. Just now, though, it’s easy to imagine that The Donald will skate on all of that shit too. It’s what Donald does. He skates. Right over your fingers as you lay stunned on the ice, cold-cocked by one of his henchmen.
Lost in the noise, now, will be the appalling details that have already been proved. The plain, undeniable truth that Russian covert operatives made a hash of America’s democracy on Donald’s behalf, no matter how much the dummy had to do with it himself. The reality that whatever happened in that meeting in Trump Tower, Donald’s entire senior campaign team, including his idiot namesake son, thought they were going to obtain stolen campaign intel from a foreign power. The weird way that Trump acolyte and dirty tricks meister Roger Stone was seemingly in contact with Wikileaks Turd Julian Assange, trafficking in emails stolen by Russian intelligence. The very odd way that a major dump of all that distracting Wikileaks bullshit occurred on the very evening that Trump’s “grab them by the pussy” Access Hollywood antics were breaking news. The incontrovertible evidence, issued on TV from Trump’s own yip, that he fired James Comey because “this Rusher thing, with Trump and Russia, is a made-up story”, which prima facie amounts to obstruction of justice, though Mueller may have concluded it falls short of the criminal line. The brazen public request that Russia steal Hillary’s emails, made right there on camera. The way Trump bragged about upcoming Clinton dirt in advance of the Wikileaks dumps. The dozens upon dozens of contacts between Trump’s team and Russian operatives, including those cultivated by his first pick as National Security Advisor. The strange coincidence that just about every mook in Trump’s corrupting orbit is a stone fucking criminal on his way to the slam, including a now-jailed campaign chief who was tight with a Russian-sponsored Ukrainian dictator and several unsavoury Russian oligarchs and their minions, one of whom he met in a frigging cigar bar while he was still leading the campaign in order to hand over detailed polling data – gee, why does a Russian want polling data? The strangely precise and politically savvy targeting of Russian on-line propaganda before the 2016 vote, as if coordinated at this end by people who knew their local political scenes to a high level of intimacy. The constant assertions by Donald that he believes Putin, not the CIA, and thinks Russia didn’t interfere, which is in itself collusion of a sort – consciously abetting the Russians by denying a problem even exists.
Fake News! No Collusion!
The fact is, with everything else Trump is and does, it shouldn’t even matter whether he knew about, and cooperated in, Putin’s plan to destroy Western liberal democracy. It got him elected, probably, and the mere chance that it might have ought to be enough to delegitimize his presence in the Oval, but there’s ample cause apart from that to give him the boot. There’s the metronomic clicking of his dumb, erratic decisions, many of which make mincemeat of America’s standing in the world. Just yesterday, for example, he tweeted out more stupefying off-the-cuff foreign policy, akin to his Syrian withdrawal, asserting that he’d decided to countermand his own government’s decision to impose further sanctions on North Korea – because, as Sarah Huckabee Goddam Sanders helpfully explained, Donald “likes Kim Jong Un”. Of course he does. Just like he’s all affectionate with the autocratic potentates in Russia, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Brazil, and the Philippines. Dear God, the sheer scope of Trump’s ongoing corruption, as he blatantly flouts the Constitution’s Emoluments Clause, should alone be enough. Then there’s the predatory grifting pulled off by so many of his cabinet members. The gravely unconstitutional power grab to get the money to build his stupid wall. The unconstitutional appointment of an interim Attorney General who’d never been vetted and approved by the Senate, a gambit which, thank Christ for small mercies, didn’t really pay off, though I guess it doesn’t matter now that Whitaker lacked the balls to fire Mueller. The underhanded, on-the-sly dealings between his son-in-law and the usual cast of dirty foreign leaders, apparently connected with finding financing for his real estate disaster at 666 Fifth Avenue, including a strangely coordinated effort with the Saudis to bully little Qatar. The mere presence of the incompetent Jared and corrupt Ivanka in the West Wing, a breathtaking display of unabashed nepotism that ought to be illegal, and the way the both of them have been conducting public business over private email and encrypted internet backchannels to an extent that makes Hillary’s supposed email scandal look like shoplifting as juxtaposed with mass murder. The steamrolling of all protocol over the strident objections of his intelligence agencies in obtaining a very dangerous security clearance for the Kushner kid. The 8,000 lies, and counting. The racism and xenophobia. The brutal child separation policy, surely the biggest stain on America’s reputation since Abu Ghraib, if not the Japanese internment. The very idea of the Wall, not, after all, underwritten by Mexico. His constant use of an unsecured cellphone to which every spook on Earth must be listening intently. The dumbfounding, almost continuously manifested pig-ignorance and stupidity of the man, as he tweets his garbage, mangles his syntax, utters his nonsense, and all but walks into lampposts as he exits Air Force One, looking confused and wandering around. The signs of severe emotional instability and creeping dementia. On and on it goes, daily, and God help us, but he won’t, maybe for many years to come.
None of it matters, because we put all our eggs in the Mueller basket, and now we’ve shot our bolt. Any further attacks will look like bitter, vindictive sour grapes. Donald skates. And here I was predicting confidently that the bastard wouldn’t make it to the end of 2019, that Democratic Congressional oversight by the likes of Schiff, Nadler and Cummings would be the end of him. Well, he’s stonewalling Schiff, Nadler, and Cummings, and by the time it all wends its way to his friendly, well-stacked SCOTUS, Trump could be midway through his second term.
It’s still possible he gets his comeuppance, I guess, but it’s hard to believe in justice any more. The guy seems bulletproof. Kevlar, head to toe. Look, he’s an obese, unhealthy, KFC-gobbling cardiac catastrophe waiting to happen, now in his mid-seventies, for the love of Christ, and even that doesn’t stop him. He won’t even have a stroke and die. I will. I will, watching him on the news as a tape loop of “no collusion, no collusion” streams out of his odd little pie-hole. And that ain’t fair.
Folks, I’m an educated man. I’m fully briefed on the worst bad boys of history, from Caligula to Pol Pot, and all the Torquemadas, Tojos, Hitlers, Stalins, and Maos that have come and gone in the interim. I can contemplate all of them dispassionately, never coming close to losing my shit. I can keep things in perspective, as I ponder the sweep of history, and all the knaves that came and went, all of their brief, nasty turns on the world stage, some epochal, some catastrophic, and some signifying nothing and ultimately amounting to less. I can look at the whole rogue’s gallery like a biologist peering through his microscope at something ugly swimming inside a water droplet. Every time I see Trump, though, every time his flabby orange face appears on camera and his whiny-little-bitch word salad starts spewing – every time – I feel a wave of soul-nullifying rage wash over me. His simple existence is ample proof that everything I believe in, everything I hope for, every value I cherish, is utterly meaningless. I lose. He wins. He’s like that older, bigger prick in Junior High who took your treasured hockey cards and beat you up when you were barely half way through fourth grade, sneering, smug, bullying, cruel, stupid, immune to consequence, always there waiting to ambush you, throw your winter hat into a tree and heist your meagre pocket money before pushing your face into a snowbank, even as you were hoping to make it home from school just that once, just one stinking time, without taking a beat-down.
This isn’t over, but Jesus. The triumphant crowing we’re going to hear from Trump and his GOP toadies is going to do me in. I should have remembered. His kind always wins. That prick in Junior High always goes on to become a radiologist and pull down a million bucks a year, while he screws around on his trophy wife with that yummy 20-year-old candy-striper.
It’s the hope that kills you.
Responsible opposing opinion:
It’s way too soon to be such a Gloomy Gus. We don’t know what the report says. While the signs thus far point to a happy ending for Trump – given that Trump himself is calling for the report to be released, one wonders if Attorney General Barr has let him know there’s nothing to worry about – we need to remember that what Mueller can charge, and what Congress can condemn, are two different things. Nadler on Judiciary has said he wants to see the raw material, the evidence, not the prosecutorial conclusions, and he says he’ll subpoena the files if he has to. That could lead to a protracted legal fight, but if Nadler gets his way we may find out not just what Mueller can prove beyond a reasonable doubt, but what he found out, and what he had that you and I would find persuasive, which is something Congress could expose and act upon.
Maybe. Probably, I shouldn’t carry on like I already know how this turns out. There’s still hope!!
There, see? Like all good lawyers I can argue both sides with conviction.