Don Rogers: Clearing a Barr
Let’s be glad.
Robert Mueller did his job, caught some crooks where he found them, filed his report. Went home.
No press conferences and few if any leaks from the special prosecutor’s office. Just solid work without fuss, unheard of in D.C. Also looks like the fines will outweigh the costs of the investigation.
The president crowed and Democrats fumed, though there’s no cause for either. That’s politics, all huff and puff with no practical meaning. Actual governance will continue to run as badly as ever. No change there.
Onward then, OK?
I’m relieved, if anything. Other than some shady operatives, ideally all netted, we haven’t been compromised as feared. The republic holds. The Russians don’t really run the White House, after all.
Whether Trump tried to obstruct the investigation in a criminal way sounds like the closer call, and Mueller left that to the attorney general to determine. William Barr demurred.
Apparently Trump’s public musings and tweets, along with private arm-twisting and firings, didn’t rise to the required level to bring charges. At least not with the president’s man.
The special prosecutor did find enough to charge 34 people, and at least a few will serve serious time for crimes they indeed committed. Good. Some swamp draining, not just talk.
In all, this hasn’t been so different from the Whitewater fraud investigation of President Clinton a couple of decades ago. Just reverse the parties bellowing about conspiracies and witch hunts and how all this somehow is the news media’s fault for covering such crap with such fervor in the first place.
I dunno. Sure seems like a special prosecutor investigating whether a president has committed crimes would be pretty newsworthy.
Anyway, then as now, the political press and pundits were all over the board. The righty press likes to beat on the lefty press, and vice versa, but they’re all pretty much of a league with varying degrees of journalistic discipline bleeding out to advocacy each way.
Whitewater finally came down to a president’s professed confusion about what defines sex, and trying to keep his dalliances quiet. This led to an impeachment cooler heads would have liked to avoid. Republicans became kind of a joke themselves for a while, especially the strident ones found to have cheated on their wives, too.
Mueller’s investigation nudged closest to the president having a direct role in a crime through the payoffs of a couple of illicit lovers while running for office, and whether that constituted campaign finance violations. Trump’s rat, Michael Cohen, will serve three years for arranging those payments, along with tax fraud. Other ongoing state and federal investigations may turn up more about Trump’s part in this and other matters. Or not.
I hope the new House majority can manage to stop short of impeachment this time around. Yes, I know. It’s not the sex. It’s the lying about the sex. More so, though, it’s about the Senate. Politics. Maybe the GOP majority there is providential for once.
But now the Democrats can replace Republican mischief in the House investigations with their own. Count on it. Yes, that’s cynicism speaking.
There’s plenty of cause for worry about the Dems trumping things up for 2020. They have an election to try to win. And Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s notions of God and country still ring loud with his declarations in 2012 that President Obama must be defeated above all else. Because he’s a Democrat, of course. Not that the Resistance needs more fuel.
In truth, Trump has only cleared a Barr. Seems a bit early for crowing quite yet.
Don Rogers is the publisher of the Sierra Sun and The Union, based in Grass Valley. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 530-477-4299.