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Mueller Report release isn’t end of fight

By Askia Muhammad -Senior Editor- | Last updated: Apr 24, 2019 - 3:22:43 PM

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President Donald Trump is seen sitting inside his armored SUV as he departs his Mar-a-Lago estate to attend Easter services at nearby Episcopal Church of Bethesda-by-the-Sea, April 21, in Palm Beach, Fla.
WASHINGTON—Surrounded by appointees who are quick to lie or break the law for him, President Donald took a victory lap around his political opponents April 19 after his Attorney General William Barr released a censored version of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s “Report on the Investigation Into Russian Interference in the 2016 Presidential Election.”

“I’m having a good day, too. It was called no collusion, no obstruction,” Mr. Trump declared, after having sent a tweet of himself staring into the mist, as in a popular TV fantasy series with a tagline: “No collusion, no obstruction ... For the haters and the radical left Democrats ... Game Over.”

Mr. Mueller’s 448-page document states Mr. Trump’s campaign “expected it would benefit electorally from information stolen and released through Russian efforts,” but concluded, “the investigation did not establish that members of the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.”

But the president was not always so gleeful about the investigation. Shortly after release of a redacted version of the report, the leader of the free world was complaining again and condemning the report as biased and a witch hunt.

The report reveals that in 2017 when the president was first told of the special counsel’s investigation, he slumped back into his chair, proclaiming, “Oh my God. This is terrible. This is the end of my presidency. I’m fu---d.”

Mr. Mueller’s report outlined at least 10 instances where Mr. Trump tried to impede the investigation but came to no definitive conclusion on whether the president broke the law by obstructing justice. In the report, Mr. Mueller suggests that this is a decision for Congress. That contradicts the conclusion by Mr. Trump’s hand-picked attorney general, Mr. Barr, who said the president did not obstruct justice.

Opposition Democrats will likely use the report as their “roadmap” to further investigate and put more pressure on Mr. Trump. The president will be emboldened if congressional Democrats, fearing a political backlash, “do nothing” in the wake of the report release, warned Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), Chair of the House Oversight Committee.

“If we do nothing here, what is going to happen is that the president is going to be emboldened. He’s going to be emboldened because he’s said, ‘Well, I got away with that,’ ” Mr. Cummings said April 21 on ABC’s “Face the Nation” Sunday talk show. “We cannot afford that. Our democracy cannot afford that,” he said.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) scheduled a confidential conference call with House Democrats on April 23 to discuss their options in light of the report’s release.

“But it’s not over,” said Dr. Clarence Lusane, chair of the Political Science Department at Howard University. “And I think there are potentially two consequences, both political, one having to do with the 2020 election.

“For the Democrats, they absolutely have to make sure that what Trump did, his behavior as president, the way in which he sought to undermine democracy; block the investigation and all of the other things, people should be reminded of that constantly,” Dr. Lusane told The Final Call. “And that certainly is something that should come up in debates, and in the way which the Democrats talk about where Trump is unfit.

Attorney General William Barr Photo: AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

“The other political option is what happens in Congress. And it’s quite true. I think that you will not have enough Democrat or Republican senators who would vote to remove Trump from office under any circumstance. But that doesn’t mean that the Democrats should not try.”

Mr. Trump’s victory party and declaration that the report’s findings exonerated him were short lived. Mr. Trump complained about the report’s finding, arguing that because he chose not to testify during the probe, he never got to tell his side of the story.

“Statements are made about me by certain people in the Crazy Mueller Report, in itself written by 18 Angry Democrat Trump Haters, which are fabricated & totally untrue,” Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter. “Watch out for people that take so-called ‘notes,’ when the notes never existed until needed. Because I never agreed to testify, it was not necessary for me to respond to statements made in the ‘Report’ about me, some of which are total bulls--- & only given to make the other person look good (or me to look bad).”

Mr. Mueller tried to get the president to sit for an interview for more than a year, but Mr. Trump and his attorneys resisted.

The report also revealed that several dissenting figures within the administration included former White House counsel Don McGahn, deputy national security adviser K.T. McFarland and former Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Those and other officials refused to carry out directives from the president, possibly preventing illegal acts.

The report revealed that other White House officials, such as Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, lied to defend Mr. Trump. A reference on page 72 of the report reveals that the press secretary admitted she may have made a “slip of the tongue” when she told reporters that she had been contacted by FBI agents who agreed with Mr. Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey.

The report also reveals Mr. Trump’s willingness to skirt the laws, like a Mafia criminal operation. Mr. Trump reportedly asks himself, “What would Roy Cohn advise John Gotti to do?” Eric Levitz wrote for about the president’s decision-making process.

The “real America” is revealed by the report, Dr. Greg Carr, chair of the African American Studies Department at Howard University, told The Final Call. “I think it’s a beautiful day, because you know, it is the stripping reality from the idea that this country has some type of legal system or political system that’s going to save it from the hard choices. There is no such thing. Human society, all systems are created by human beings. The law is not going to save America. It’s going to take people to do something right.

“The Republican Party is the party of White supremacy,” Dr. Carr continued. “They are doing what they need to do to run this country. And so this isn’t a failure of democracy. This is a failure of humanity.

“This is all about power. This is a naked power grab and (Mr. Trump’s) daring. He’s daring people to be better than that. And so far they have not answered the bell. The politicians are sitting back.”

Mr. Mueller clearly laid out what role he sees Congress taking: “The conclusion that Congress may apply obstruction laws to the president’s corrupt exercise of the powers of office accords with our constitutional system of checks and balances and the principle that no person is above the law.”

Mr. Trump and his supporters insist: There was no collusion. There was no crime. There was no obstruction of justice.

But in the report, Mr. Mueller answered the question: “How could there be obstruction of justice if there was little evidence to support the underlying suspicion that the Trump campaign coordinated with Russia?

“Obstruction of justice can be motivated by a desire to protect non-criminal personal interests, to protect against investigations where underlying criminal liability falls into a gray area, or to avoid personal embarrassment,” Mr. Mueller wrote. “The injury to the integrity of the justice system is the same regardless of whether a person committed an underlying wrong.”

The report was enough to convince one Republican senator to condemn the president’s behavior. Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) issued a sharp rebuke, following the release of the Mueller report, saying he was “sickened” by details revealed in the document. Sen. Romney also tweeted that he was “appalled” that Americans working on the Trump campaign had welcomed help from Russia.

“I am sickened at the extent and pervasiveness of dishonesty and misdirection by individuals in the highest office of the land, including the President. I am also appalled that, among other things, fellow citizens working in a campaign for president welcomed help from Russia,” the 2012 GOP presidential nominee said in a statement.