Attorney General William Barr released a “summary” this afternoon of Robert Mueller’s report, and it’s provided zero answers and endless new questions. According to Barr, Mueller concluded that he didn’t find evidence that Donald Trump committed any acts of obstruction of justice, or collusion with Russia, that would rise to the level of a chargeable crime. This is, of course, total bullshit. So what’s really going on?
In short, we don’t know what this is. We’ve spent the past couple years watching Donald Trump commit blatant acts of obstruction of justice in plain sight, that anyone who’s ever so much as read the statute would understand is grounds for indictment. Widespread reporting from major news outlets has long made clear that Team Trump directly conspired with the Russian government in an attempt at altering the outcome of the 2016 election, and some of the key players have publicly confessed to as much.
There are two possibilities here. The first, and seemingly most likely, is that William Barr is intentionally mischaracterizing Robert Mueller’s report in an effort to protect Donald Trump. This wouldn’t be shocking, considering that Trump recently appointed Barr for the sole purpose of protecting him from Mueller’s report. The second possibility would be Mueller has been criminally conspiring with Trump all along to obstruct justice – but we’re not willing to entertain that notion until we’ve found out what’s really in Mueller’s report.
Donald Trump and his people are, of course, celebrating this news. And most major media outlets are reporting Barr’s summary as if it were Mueller’s report, because why would they want to challenge their audience to use their brains when it’s easier to just parrot whatever Barr has said? In any case, Mueller had to have been expecting that Barr might pull this crap, and he surely has a workaround up his sleeve.
House Democrats, for their part, will immediately subpoena the full report. They’ll also immediately subpoena Robert Mueller to publicly testify about what his report really says. This fight is just beginning. Now it’s an even bigger battle, because we know that – at the least – the Attorney General is criminally conspiring with Donald Trump to try to cover up Trump’s crimes.
One potential upside to this travesty of a “summary” is that it may prompt Donald Trump to feel relieved and let his guard down, under the mistaken belief that he’s now off the hook, instead of continuing to fight. One way or the other, Trump’s crimes will all come out, and Trump will end up in prison for his crimes. As we’ve tried to explain all along, it was never going to be easy. Having majority control in the House is crucial. The battle to impeach and remove Trump is now far more important than ever. It’s for all the marbles. Take a deep breath, take the evening off if you must, and then let’s get back to work tomorrow.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report