Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Blogger Candidate Forum: What Were You Expecting?

Hello Everyone:

This is the Blogger Candidate Forum dropping in, for a short visit, to say a few words on Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller's announcement this morning.

Were you expecting some sort of bombshell announcement?  If you were, you were disappointed.  Instead, Mr. Mueller announced his resignation and reiterated the conclusions of his report. 

First, there was no conclusive evidence to suggest that the Trump campaign conspired with Russia to undermine the 2016 election. Yes, Russian hackers, through WikiLeaks, did break into Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee servers and illegally obtained emails that were released to the media. Yes, it was coincidental that a few days after then-candidate Donald Trump encouraged hackers to disclose "her emails," DNC and Clinton emails magically appeared. However, there was never any tangible, concrete evidence to infer that Mr. Trump knew and or actively encouraged hackers or had any contact with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Further, senior members of his campaign staff taking meetings is not a crime. Had there been some solid quid pro quo arrangement between both parties--i.e. "Get me elected and I'll remove sanctions"--then it would be a completely different conclusion.  Obstruction of justice is another matter.

Second, Mr. Mueller specifically said that if his team were confident that the president did not committ obstruction of justice, they would said so.  They were not. Instead, the report detailed ten instances in which the president attempted to impede the work of Special Counsel's Office, that were thwarted by adminsitration staff members.  However following Department of Justice regulation, he opted not criminally charge a sitting president.  This is the correct decision because the Constitution does provide the mechanism for removing members of the Executive Branch of government.  Thus, Robert Mueller was right to leave it to Congress to investigate and determine if the president's actions warrant impeachment and removal from office. 

Finally, to those of you howling for impeachment, allow the Candidate Forum to remind that impeaching and removing a president is a legal and political process. Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)'s go slow approach is also a correct decision. Speaker Pelosi thoroughly understands the political landscape and the risks that come with it, especially 17 months away from a major election. Her plan is keep the investigations on the back burner while advancing the Democratic legislative agenda.  Unless something explosive materializes, the goal is to deprive the president the chance to play the victim and a way to define whoever his challenger is and put the focus on issues like healthcare and climate change. Not that the president will not try to pigeon hole his challenger but impeachment should not be it.  What happens next?

What happens next is that the House committees investigating the president will continue and attorneys fighting the president's legal maneuvering to block witness testimony and document from being release will continue. House and Senate Democrats will continue to advance their agenda. Slow walking impeachment and removal is prudent path for now. 

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