Donald Trump is openly gloating today, while falsely claiming that Robert Mueller’s report is an “exoneration” of him. Trump’s surrogates are out there celebrating all of this as a “victory” for their side, and a vindication of everything they’ve said and done over the past two years. Meanwhile, back in the real world, this is not even close to what’s really happening.
Even Donald Trump’s handpicked Attorney General William Barr was forced to publicly admit yesterday that the Mueller report does not exonerate Trump. Barr tried to spin the report as absurdly and deviously as possible in Trump’s favor, yet even he couldn’t bring himself to pretend that it was an exoneration. In other words, the report must be full of devastating evidence against Donald Trump – and now Trump’s hopes hinge entirely on his ability to keep the contents of the Mueller report a secret.
House Democrats have subpoena power, and based on their public remarks, they intend to use it in order to get their hands on the Mueller report. They’ll also surely subpoena Barr to testify about his handling of this coverup. And they’ll subpoena Mueller to testify about what’s in his report. This report is a proverbial ticking time bomb, and it’s a matter of time before we all find out what’s really in it.
Oh and by the way, New York Attorney General Tish James has publicly stated in the past months that she and her state are criminally investigating Donald Trump, his businesses, his family, and his associates. There is nothing that Trump, Barr, the DOJ, or any other federal government entity can do to stop this from happening. James also specifically stated in December that she was going to investigate the Trump Tower meeting with the Russians. So much for the idea that Barr yelling ‘no collusion’ somehow got anyone off the legal hook. New York State recently indicted Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, making clear that at least some of its Trump-related criminal cases are ready to go. We’ll see just how soon the rest of it rolls out.
So Donald Trump should probably enjoy his brief, artificial moment in the sun while he can. If he truly thinks he’s off the hook, it’s because he’s underestimating the savvy and subpoena power of Nancy Pelosi, and because he’s failing to understand the difference between state and federal criminal investigations. Or maybe Trump really does understand how much trouble he’s in, and how ugly things are going to get for him, which is why he’s trying to milk this brief moment while he can.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report