Rethinking America

Mueller Report Fuels Still More Investigations

Trump’s fury will rise as the hunt for a smoking gun continues.

Credit: Joseph Sohm Shutterstock.com

Takeaways


  • The Mueller report does not exonerate Trump. Rather, it provides stimulus for further investigations.
  • As investigations into Trump continue, a major concern is what public policy actions he will take to distract public attention.
  • The Mueller report’s description of the dysfunctional White House adds to worries that there may be no effective checks on Trump.

Donald Trump’s unhinged ego and boundless anger will ruin his golf game in the Florida sunshine.

The publication of the report by U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller will now be the source of endless venal Twitter outbursts by a man who has consistently blasted as “fake news” that his election victory was in any way aided by Russian actions.

Trump sees this suggestion as undermining his defeat of Hilary Clinton — the Mueller report details in more than 250 pages how vast was the Russian engagement in the American election.

Unanswered question

But was it just this concern that drove Trump to publicly and privately strive to disrupt Mueller’s investigation?

The report fails to provide a clear answer. It devotes 185 pages to the question of whether Trump obstructed justice without clearly articulating a set of motives for what at times, according to episodes detailed by Mueller, was manic behavior.

Trump ordered 11 of his White House assistants and associates at different times to halt the investigations — none did so. They failed to follow his orders because of incompetence, because some worried they may have to act illegally and some felt that it would do enormous political damage to Trump.

Starting in 2014 and moving into high gear as Trump emerged as a leading presidential candidate, Russian officials and Russian businessmen combined to engage in American politics. The report underscores that many of these businessmen have close ties to President Putin.

No conspiracy

The Trump team never orchestrated a strategy to work with the Russians and this is the reason why Mueller did not charge them as a group, or the President, with conspiracy.

But the team members, including Trump’s son Donald Junior, and son-in-law Jared Kushner, were most willing to meet the Russians and hear their arguments as to why, above all, a future Trump administration should lift sanctions on Russians and weaken Western support for Ukraine.

The Mueller report does not provide evidence of any Russian financial offers to the Trump organization. There is not a single mention of Deutsche Bank, which was the leading bank to the Trump Organization.

While there is a lot of detail concerning plans to build a Trump Tower in Moscow, no financing offer appears to have been forthcoming.

Despite the absurd decision by Attorney-General William Barr that Trump did not obstruct justice, the Mueller report densely details a compelling case. Mueller believed a final decision on this was not his, but for Congress to decide and 25 pages of legal argument in the report underscores this point.

More investigations

This report does not exonerate Trump. Rather, it provides stimulus for further investigations.

The man Trump currently hates most, Democratic Congressman Adam Schiff, who heads the House Committee in Investigations, will now charge ahead with even greater zeal.

His focus will be on many aspects of Trump’s finances and, now no doubt, on many of the activities of the many Russian oligarchs noted in the report.

I believe Mueller believed the financial investigations could best be pursued by New York State prosecutors rather than by his own team. The New Yorkers are hard at work and Trump has no means of closing down their work.

They and Congressional committees will be searching for the money trails that explain why Trump was so determined to obstruct the Mueller investigations and why he is so zealous to investigate the FBI.

The Democrats believe Barr may be hiding key information by redacting parts of the Mueller report and a subpoena has now been sent to the Justice Department by the House Judiciary Committee demanding the entire report.

Did Mueller contemplate charging Kushner and Donald Junior for their relationships with Russians? We do not know from the redacted report.

Major concern

As this saga continues a major concern has to be what public policy actions Trump is capable of taking to distract public attention from the investigations — be they more explicit actions against would-be Latin American immigrants, more racist attacks on Moslems and African-Americans or even new dangerous foreign adventures.

The report’s descriptions of the dysfunctional White House that could not stop Mueller, adds to worries that there may be no effective checks in this administration on whatever crazy decisions Trump may seek to take as the heat of the further investigations into his finances rises.

Tags: , , , , , ,

About Frank Vogl

Frank Vogl is co-founder of Transparency International and author of Waging War on Corruption: Inside the Movement Fighting the Abuse of Power. [Washington D.C., United States]

Responses to “Mueller Report Fuels Still More Investigations”

If you would like to comment, please visit our Facebook page.