By The Signal Editorial Board
It’s a classic case of denial. Like a jilted lover who won’t accept the finality of a breakup, or the employee who shows up to work the day after being fired, there are many across the country who simply are unable or unwilling to accept the outcome of the two-year investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller.
They are, in effect, saying, “This isn’t over until I say it’s over!”
Yet, it’s over.
Mueller, appointed in 2017 to investigate allegations that President Trump and members of his team colluded with Russian operatives who sought to swing the 2016 election in Trump’s favor, at last completed his probe this month and submitted his report to Attorney General William Barr.
Along the way, the Mueller probe resulted in indictments of over a dozen Russian nationals and several Russian companies on conspiracy charges. One thing that has emerged is, yes, there were Russian interests attempting to meddle in the election.
The Mueller probe also netted a handful of criminal charges and convictions of former Trump associates on other charges — things like tax fraud, providing false statements, etc. Not to make light of those crimes — and figures like former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen and former campaign chairman Paul Manafort are rightly facing consequences for their actions — but none of those charges established collusion with the Russians, and the “big fish” in this expedition was the president.
Did he or his team illegally conspire with Russia to alter the outcome of the 2016 election?
The answer, it turns out, is no — despite the fact that not only Trump’s political opponents but also much of the national media long ago tossed out that corny old constitutional notion of presuming one’s innocence until proven guilty.
These days, all you need to convict someone in the court of public opinion is a microphone, a camera, and a little rumor and innuendo — and it doesn’t hurt if you have accusations coming from a former lover with an ax to grind. All the better if the former lover is a stripper, porn star or prostitute.
In this case, the only thing missing was evidence of an actual crime being committed by the president. Details, details.
According to Barr, the Mueller investigation found no evidence that Trump conspired with Russians who sought to influence the 2016 election, and while stopping short of “exonerating” the president on any possible charges of obstructing justice in the case, the two-year investigation also failed to turn up enough evidence of obstruction to mount a case against the president.
If you can’t make your case in two years, with the vast resources available to Mueller, you can’t make your case.
At some point, enough is enough. Mueller and his army of 19 (mostly Democrat-leaning) lawyers, 40 FBI agents, forensic accountants, and assorted analysts and staff have spent at least $25 million and, more likely, over $30 million by the time all the tallying is done, according to politifact.com. If all of those resources, time and money have been unable to unearth any substantive evidence of a crime committed by the president, it’s time to move on.
The reaction of many Trump critics, who seem unable and/or unwilling to accept the reality of the Mueller investigation, basically amounts to something like this: “But we just HATE him so much, he’s got to be guilty of SOMETHING…”
Personal dislike does not equate to evidence of wrongdoing.
At this point, two years, 2,800 subpoenas, nearly 500 search warrants, hundreds of interviews and at least $25 million later, there’s no evidence of collusion, and insufficient evidence of obstruction of justice to provide the basis for a case against the president.
It may be hard for some to accept, because this two-year journey didn’t turn out the way they so badly wanted it to, but it’s time to get past the “nothing burger” that was the Russian collusion case, to move past the turmoil it has caused, and move on to the business of running the country and attempting to bridge the gaps between our political differences.
It’s time to let it go.