Mueller Report Fatigue

The Mueller Report. It’s hard to believe but it’s only been 6 days (April 18) since a redacted version of the Mueller Report was released to the public. We’ve been hearing so much about it for so many months that many people have come to think of it as “old news.”  

The stream of indictments of Trump associates, the steady rumors, the news show discussions, the preemptive denials of wrongdoing virtually every day by Trump and his protectors, have us feeling like this has been going on forever.  

And this Mueller Report fatigue is what Republican leaders have been hoping for. For example, last week I heard a seasoned ABC news correspondent say she found all this turmoil  “exhausting.” – It is. — But when you’re battling to keep a democracy healthy while others are expending so much energy to weaken it, feeling exhausted is a small price to pay. 

Even with the Report’s release, we still don’t know all the details of what was uncovered — nor, all of the implications. There are many redactions that need to be further investigated. And the months of preemptive denials, verbal games and outright lying from the Trump camp have further muddied the public’s perceptions. 

The Report’s conclusion pretty much wrapped things up by saying, “to be continued.” But, not continued by Robert Mueller. He left it up to the constitutional powers vested in our U.S. Congress to follow up on the information his report provided. – He may, however, play a future role in in all this if he testifies before the U.S. House. 

Soon after Mueller’s Report was released, a newsperson on ABC faulted Democrats for being “obsessed” with Donald Trump when we should be dealing with important legislative work that needs attention. It is true that the unprecedented dance that has been going on between President Trump and Vladimir Putin’s regime has drawn a huge amount of interest from us Democrats. (And it should have received a lot more from Republicans.)  

The Mueller Report did not find a direct connection between Donald Trump and Russian meddling in our elections. But it did clearly state that there was contact made between the Russians and close Trump associates, and that leading up to the elections the Russians did meddle. A foreign power communicating with our voters to affect the outcome of our elections is tantamount to a foreign invasion! – If that doesn’t justify some level of obsessiveness I don’t know what should. 

Impeachment. Those thoughts bring me to another subject that has been getting a lot of headlines: The continuing debate about the impeachment of President Donald Trump. 

In the March issue of The Atlantic Magazine the word “Impeach” emblazoned its cover. Inside was a long and thoughtful essay on why the U.S. House should begin impeachment proceedings. And in today’s Sun Times , columnist, Phil Kadner presented reasons he strongly believes: “Now is the time for impeachment.” 

The Atlantic discussed the increasingly troubling behavior of our 45th president, our nation’s impeachment history, how the process works, and most importantly why such drastic steps should be taken by our Congress rather than waiting for the electorate to remove Trump from office in 2020. In the author’s opinion, it is the duty of Congress to do this unpleasant (and politically risky) job. To avoid starting a justifiable impeachment will give Trump (and any future terrible president) a pass on all sorts of reckless behavior in our nation’s highest office .  

Phil Kadner’s reasoning for encouraging Donald Trump’s impeachment was pretty specific. He rightfully observed that Trump has shown us what he is capable of doing to hold the support of his loyal followers. At this point we know he has no moral compass and no limits when he feels threatened. For us to trust that in the coming 18 months leading up to the 2020 election, President Trump and his increasingly shady circle of advisors will not resort to whatever it takes to win, is naïve. Keeping Trump in office is a dangerous gamble. 

Unfortunately, Mueller’s report conclusion pretty much dumped this dilemma in House Speaker Pelosi’s lap. I have great admiration for her political skills but I don’t envy the complex situation she’s facing. Mueller’s conclusions found no prosecutable evidence linking Russia and President Trump, but didn’t say there was no questionable (even impeachable) behavior. Mueller more or less said he was trusting Congress to further look into this mess.  

Speaker Pelosi is saying it is too early to discuss the subject of impeachment. It looks to me like she’s not ready to pull that trigger until there is more evidence that more of the public is open to such an action. Perhaps that situation will never be reached. — However, today in Iowa, a Republican legislator, after 40 years in office, has crossed over to the Democratic Party. His reason was the far right swing of Republicans and Donald Trump as that party’s leader. 

So, who knows? As the present army of Democratic presidential candidates crisscrosses America presenting their positions, perhaps Donald Trump’s false promises will become more apparent to still unhappy supporters. The tide could begin to turn.

Nels Howard, NTD Member Since 1973