Today’s release of the Mueller report, even with heavy and likely dishonest redactions on the part of Trump’s ally William Barr, nonetheless makes clear that Donald Trump is guilty of a plethora of crimes. Not surprisingly, Trump is still declaring that he’s been “exonerated.” But it’s notable that he’s changed his story when it comes to what he’s supposedly been exonerated for.
In the weeks since Barr released his initial (and in hindsight clearly fictional) summary of the Mueller report, Donald Trump has been pushing his “no collusion – no obstruction” tagline. After Barr’s press conference this morning, Trump repeated it yet again. But after the release of the redacted Mueller report this afternoon, Trump sent out this fundraising email. See if you can spot the change:
“The summary of the Mueller Report said there was NO COLLUSION, but you already knew that. So Democrats and the Fake News claimed the full report would tell a different story. Sorry haters: NO COLLUSION & EXONERATION AGAIN! How many times do I have to be exonerated before they stop? WHAT A JOKE!”
That’s right, Donald Trump has now completely omitted the “no obstruction” part from his “no collusion – no obstruction” tagline. Now it’s simply “no collusion and exoneration.” This suggests that Trump and his team no longer think they can make the argument – even to Trump’s loyal base – that he didn’t commit obstruction of justice. That’s noteworthy, considering that if and when House Democrats bring articles of impeachment, they’ll likely focus largely on obstruction. For that matter, Richard Nixon was forced from office for obstructing the Watergate probe, before it was even legally established that he directed the Watergate break-in.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report