Mueller’s story is a far scarier one than Trump’s

“The Mueller Report” turned out to be a thriller compared to Wednesday’s committee testimony. Only a few Americans have read the book. Not many more watched the live performance this week either.

I usually prefer my horror stories on the big screen, not in paperback.

I bought the Pulitzer Prize winning book, “To Kill A Mockingbird,” after I saw the play on Broadway last month. The play was nominated for 9 Tony Awards, with Celia Keenan-Bolger winning for “Feature Actress.” I also loved the 1962 movie version which won three Oscars, including one for Gregory Peck as “Best Actor.”

This story seems to win the big awards no matter what the medium. Of course, it’s not a horror story.

The Mueller Report won’t win a Pulitzer Prize. And Robert Mueller’s performance on Wednesday won’t win an Oscar or a Tony Award either. No matter.

The hearings on Capitol Hill on Wednesday changed absolutely none of the facts and conclusions written in the report. In fact, after having watched the entire Judicial and Intelligence Committee hearings, it was clear to me that no doubts were even raised by committee members about the report’s key findings.

Russia did interfere with our election in 2016. The Trump campaign welcomed that interference. The interference was designed to help Trump win. The president then committed several acts to obstruct the Special Counsel’s ability to investigate the matter.

Only a small popcorn was needed for that movie.

The political structures in Washington are failing America right now. The president and many of his administration and campaign members were investigated during Mueller’s probe. Many committed crimes and have or are currently serving their post-conviction sentences. It looked like a criminal enterprise during the investigation, and continues to look like one today.

The president never agreed to speak to investigators. Mueller never subpoenaed him and reported on Wednesday that his reasoning for not doing so was out of expedience. Mueller was less forthcoming on why he did not subpoena Donald Trump, Jr.

America has grown numb to what has always been obvious about this saga. At no time during the last two and half years has our president led the effort to protect our elections from being manipulated by foreigners. He has resisted acknowledging that it even occurred. He now appears to be alone in that resistance, judging by public comments.  But the political fear of crossing him makes the Senate appear to agree with him, even though they won’t actually say that.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell blocked votes on two election security bills on Wednesday, the same day of Mueller’s testimony. That is not because McConnell wants to appear to not care about the issue. It is because McConnell doesn’t want to cross Trump. And to Trump, a vote like that would imply the 2016 election was not legitimate, and therefore his presidency isn’t either.

On Thursday, the Senate Intelligence Committee released its report detailing the extensive interference it uncovered through its own investigation. I expect McConnell to ignore this report.

So, while many Republicans in Washington know what the obvious right things to do are, their fear of Trump paralyzes them.

Democrats have the same fears.

Should the House impeach Trump for acts established in Mueller’s report? Of course they should. Further hearings are not even necessary do so. The report itself should serve as the congressional version of this indictment.

None of the witnesses from Trump’s team are willing to comply with a subpoena. So, what are Democrats waiting on?

They are waiting for the decision to impeach to become easy. It won’t ever be easy for those in competitive districts.

President Trump is not scared to do and say ridiculous things. Among the most ridiculous has been his avoidance of securing our elections. Since his inauguration, he has met with Vladimir Putin six times. He has spoken with him on the phone ten times. They have exchanged four letters.

Trump did not speak with Mueller and his team once.

The cases against Presidents Andrew Johnson, Bill Clinton, and even Richard Nixon pale in comparison to the one against Donald Trump. Impeaching Trump is a no brainer on the basis of fact and precedent.

That the Senate won’t convict him is not an adequate excuse for the House to not impeach.

Both parties and both chambers act scared of Trump’s political spook stories. Fear is no foundational principle by which to govern.

And by the way, the Mueller spook story is a far scarier one. No matter what the medium.

 

 

 

 

3 comments

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  • I don’t go back as far as Harding or Andrew Johnson, but I was a stay at home mom during most of the Watergate saga and was glued to the TV. I am now retired and am just as fascinated with the current Trump saga.

    I agree Trump is much worse, but Republicans were not eager to impeach Nixon then either. In addition to the social issues that you mention, another difference was the existence of Nixon’s tapes of his office conversation proving his obstruction of justice.

    Another major difference is the place in the political cycle in which the scandals occurred. Nixon was elected in a turbulent time when there were Vietnam War protests, the assassinations of liberal icons (JFK IN 1963 and RFK and MLK in 1968, violence at both the Democratic and Republican Conventions. The Left was pushing the general populace farther to the left than it wanted to go and was willing to employ violence to attain its goals. The Right was seen as the Party of adults.

    Today, it’s just the opposite, the Republican so-called “establishment” of 1968 is the outlier today. What was considered radical in 1968: gay marriage, mixed-race marriage, African-Americans in positions of authority (even a President of the US), women running for President, Muslims and Black women serving in Congress, a woman Speaker of the House, etc. White most of us accept this as our new reality, there is still a significant number of straight, White people, mostly men and mostly Republican, who wish to return to a time that, only in their minds, was better.

    This reminds me of my favorite RFK quote from 1964: “There are people in every time and every land who want to stop history in its tracks. They fear the future, mistrust the present, and invoke the security of a comfortable past which, in fact, never existed.”

  • Russia did interfere with our election in 2016. The Trump campaign welcomed that interference. The interference was designed to help Trump win. The president then committed several acts to obstruct the Special Counsel’s ability to investigate the matter.

    However, you offer no evidence to back this up and even the ever popular BHO is quoted below (by the way this may be the only things he said that I agreed with) –

    “There is no serious person out there who would suggest that you could even rig America’s elections, in part because they are so decentralized. There is no evidence that that has happened in the past, or that there are instances that that could happen this time,” the president said to the future president in October 2016.

    Furthermore if you cannot see the web of deceit and attempted traps laid out by the Clinton campaign and our own FBI (phony dossier snowballing the entire investigation) trying to influence the election, you are either in complete denial or more than likely just another partisan hack upset that your preferred candidate didn’t win.

Michael Leppert

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