He directed a criminal conspiracy to break campaign finance laws. He has used the presidency for personal enrichment. He has undermined democracy. He has damaged America’s global standing. He has lied repeatedly to the American people. He has obstructed justice. (Barr’s statement to the contrary is brief and unpersuasive.)
When I wrote a Sunday Review piece earlier this year arguing that Trump had violated his oath of office and should no longer be president, I listed four main reasons. None of them involved the idea that his campaign colluded with Russia.
I’m obviously not a fan of the president. And I think it’s important for all of Trump’s critics to accept the possibility — the likelihood, at this point — that his campaign did not work together with Russia in a meaningful way.
The Mueller investigation led to criminal convictions of the president’s former campaign chairman, his longtime personal lawyer and his former national security adviser. It added an enormous amount of evidence to the case against Trump’s fitness for office. And that’s before the Trump administration has allowed the public to see the full results of the investigation.
The Mueller report could be full of good news for the president — or it could have found plenty of evidence of collusion that simply didn’t rise to the level of a prosecutable crime, Mikhaila Fogel, Quinta Jurecic, Susan Hennessey and their colleagues at Lawfare explain. “There is a huge range of conduct and findings that would be consistent with this top-line summary,” they write.
Barr’s summary doesn’t answer why Russia went to such lengths to help Trump win, writes The Atlantic’s David Frum: “Mueller hasn’t provided answers, so much as he has posed a question.”
The Politico Magazine editor Blake Hounshell asks a related question: What’s behind Trump’s unique affinity for Russian president Vladimir Putin? “It seems quite clear now that Trump did not collude with Putin to game the 2016 presidential election. Why he still seems to want to collude with Putin to reshape U.S. foreign policy remains a mystery.”
Writing in Slate, the legal expert Richard Hasen poses another unanswered question: Why did Mueller not charge Paul Manafort and Donald Trump Jr. for encouraging Russian officials to give them dirt on Hillary Clinton? “Mueller’s reasoning matters, and we need to see the full report,” Hasen writes.
Source: New York Times