The report by the special counsel concerning the Donald Trump presidential campaign and Russian interference is a kind of Rorschach test for political crackpots and cranks, including us. And what a day Thursday was, if you consider yourself among them.
The report by Robert Mueller's team showed a vulgar and upset president who only got away with not colluding because his people didn't follow orders. Or, if you watched another channel, the president was completely vindicated, and no other commander-in-chief should ever be put through an ordeal like this again.
Bombshell or dud. Take your pick.
The Mueller report is like Confederate statues or the Electoral College that way. Depending on your point of view, it's either a grand affair or evil business.
Trumpologists are studying every paragraph in the horse-choker of a report, every sentence, every punctuation mark. Did that jot mean something? Did that title mean nothing? Is the attorney general hiding something? Should Robert Mueller be fired retroactive to last summer?
Here's what we learned by watching CNN's coverage of the report's release:
• The president can't be charged with obstruction because his staffers defied his orders.
• Investigators thought the president's written responses to questions were inadequate.
• The president's outside legal team reviewed the report at the Justice Department.
• There's not enough stuff in the report about the president's personal finances.
• The president has a foul mouth.
Here's what we learned by watching Fox News:
• Trump could have exercised executive privilege to delete parts of the report, but didn't.
• Congress is calling Robert Mueller to the hill.
• Democrats are scrambling.
• The White House fully cooperated with the investigation.
• Trump declares victory.
• Celebrities react to the news!
• The president has a foul mouth.
How you might feel about this whole episode might depend on your political bent, and how far bent that is. Here's what we know. On second thought, let's just say here's what we think:
• The Russians are going to try to interfere. That's what they do. We remember how Barack Obama scoffed when Mitt Romney called Russia our "No. 1 geopolitical foe," even going so far as to mock him in a debate: "The 1980s are now calling, to ask for their foreign policy back." The Russians will try to interfere in 2020, too. And, if American spooks are doing their jobs, we're trying to interfere in Iran's elections, Russian's elections, and mainland China's elections. Once upon a time, an American diplomat of note suggested spying was uncouth: "Gentlemen don't read each other's mail." Nowadays, gentlemen try to fix each other's elections.
• The president's supporters might never again be able to say with a straight face that character matters, the way they did throughout the 1990s. But they'll forever be able to say that Donald Trump was duly investigated by one of the white knights of Washington, D.C.--Robert Mueller--and the investigation found no criminal activity. So take that.
• This president's opponents are driven to distraction by his every move. Just as with George W. Bush, they see him as an illegitimate president, put there by a corrupt system that invalidated the wish of the majority of voters. They see him as a liar and a vulgarian, an unrefined interloper put in high office by the Electoral College. They had none of these hang-ups during the Bill Clinton presidency.
• And we'd bet the house on this one: Come Nov. 3, 2020, this Mueller Report will matter not a whit. The American species, politicalus obsessious, will have moved on. Let's hope it's moved on to more edifying things.
Editorial on 04/19/2019
Print Headline: Report card