April 19, 2019
By Robert Kuttner | Apr 19, 2019
It Ain’t Over. Bill Barr gave it his best shot, clumsily playing the role more of Trump's defense attorney than attorney general. But Barr's grotesquely dishonest spinning of the Mueller report has backfired and the reverberations will only increase.
Here is the key line from the special counsel’s report:
The conclusion that Congress may apply the obstruction laws to the president’s corrupt exercise of the powers of office accords with our constitutional system’s checks and balances and the principle that no person is above the law.
Translation: Trump’s conduct did not quite meet the threshold of indictment, but it sure meets the threshold of impeachment. The special counsel's report, even with the censored passages, is a devastating portrait of a corrupt and power-crazed president. It may not reach the criminal definition of an indictment, but it is an indictment in every other sense of the word.
Trump recognizes the true message. His own characterization of Mueller’s report has gone from “total exoneration” to “total bullshit” in is latest tweet.
Mueller will surely reinforce his true findings, as opposed to Barr’s attempted cover-up of them, when the special counsel testifies before the House Judiciary Committee.
Because of the murkiness of whether a sitting president could or should be subjected to criminal prosecution, the Founders devised impeachment. Some Democrats may be reluctant to dig deeper and proceed to an impeachment, but it’s hard to see how they can avoid their constitutional duty. Once again, the House freshmen are leading the way.
And we still don’t have the full story of Trump’s tax evasion and corrupt business dealings with Russian financiers. Mueller's report is just the beginning. This sordid chapter is far from over.