As of this writing, we still don’t know what’s in the rumored four-hundred-page Mueller report (not counting tables and appendices), other than William Barr’s cagey four-page letter to Congress, which he first characterized as, then claimed wasn’t, a summary. Nevertheless, reactions from Trump and his apologists have been fierce, and, despite knowing nothing, signal shocking disregard for our Constitution. Were it not so dangerous, it’d just be bizarre.
Say what you will about liberals and their desire to make American capitalism work for everyone; they’re not, unlike Trump and his adulators in Congress, trashing the Constitution, confident their flock will swallow it.
To repeat: We don’t know what’s in the report. We do know, though, that Barr explicitly stated it did not exonerate Trump. He also intimated Mueller found suggestions of collusion with Russia; just not enough for him, as opposed to Congress, to level charges. This we learned from words. Written by Mr. Barr. To Congress. In English. A language we understand. Except Trump, et ilk. Doesn’t exonerate. Is what it said. Exoneration: Didn’t happen.
Trump claims complete and total exoneration.
He added that those who’d dared to investigate him had committed treason. Announced desire for retribution. Demanded resignations, imprisonment. Because we have this peculiar piece of parchment called the Constitution, which, quaintly, created separation of powers and the jejune concept of “checks and balances,” you’d think members of Congress, regardless of political party, would rise, united, to affirm their constitutional role and its obligations.
You’d be wrong.
Instead, intelligence-impaired Republicans taking up space on the House Intelligence Committee unanimously called on Democratic Chairman Adam Schiff to resign. Bad move. Have you seen his response?
Trump oinked his intention to see “this never happens again.” By “this” he meant constitutionally bestowed oversight, by Congress, of the Executive Branch. Countries in which “this never happens” are called dictatorships. Countries against which the U.S. has occasionally stood, particularly when not receiving their electoral help. Republicans in Congress, all but waving banners saying “The Constitution is un-American” and “The Founders Were Pinkos,” are on board. People who investigated one Clinton for years, impeached another, now proclaim — and Trump’s rally-attending apostles, switching to “Lock them up,” agree — investigations of possible malfeasance by the Executive Branch are treasonous except when it’s their party investigating the other.
All it took was Trump’s lie about Barr’s memo to convince Republicans that Mueller’s investigation, vested by a Republican Congress, was ipso-facto, retro-acto, seditious. Having first professed he wanted the full report released, Trump now says those calling for it are “a disgrace.” Surprised?
By contrast, Republicans released every word of Starr’s report. And Watergate.
It’s perfectly proper to debate what circumstances should trigger what level of congressional oversight. Javakna’s use of private servers and unsecured communications, for example, might be more investigation-worthy than Hillary’s. If one, why not the other? Fair question. But to contend there’s no rationale for Mueller’s investigation or the ones gearing up in the House of Representatives is to be blissfully uninformed or cosmically hypocritical. That Russia interfered with our election on Trump’s behalf is undeniable. That there are legitimate grounds for probing possible collusion and obstruction is, too. Chairman Schiff’s response to that failed Republican coup covers them well: (CNN: tinyurl.com/adam2speak).
Imaginative fourth-grade-level wit that he is, Trump began calling Mr. Schiff “pencil-neck.” Unembarrassed to expose their well-cultivated ignorance, delighted deplorables are selling T-shirts so imprinted. Choosing Foxic ridicule over honest reflection, theirs is American exceptionalism, Trump style.
Like those that came before, Trump’s latest provocations are pernicious. Anyone who abides them rejects the essential principles on which our republic stands, confessing preference for autocracy. For if Congress hasn’t the duty to oversee the conduct of a “president,” there’s no wall between us and tyranny. No believer in America should countenance this, even when it’s “their” president. But Republicans do. In Congress and at Trump’s deranged rallies, dropping prior pretense of being the “law-and-order” party, they display their disturbing, anti-constitutional inclinations.
If no criminality is found, fine. (We’ve just learned, though, that there’s more in the report than has met our eyes.) But vilifying those seeking answers undermines America. Whether or not Trump did, vilifiers are providing aid and comfort to our enemies. In 2020, it’s imperative that they’re outvoted and voted out. America now stands, without question, at a crossroads.
Meanwhile, Special Counsel Mueller’s report remains hidden, the conditions of its release subject to the will of an attorney general hired explicitly to protect Trump.
Email Sid Schwab at firstname.lastname@example.org.