A bit early? Perhaps, but Jonathan Turley’s convinced that the upcoming report from Robert Mueller will bring “vindication” of Donald Trump. The lack of any further indictments, Turley tells CBS, brings the number of “colluders” to, er, zero. And that’s a big problem for Russia-collusion theorists, because …
Jonathan Turley, CBS News legal analyst, joins us to discuss what is to come following the completed Mueller report. pic.twitter.com/9ZAMIg7y47
— CBS This Morning (@CBSThisMorning) March 23, 2019
“You cannot collude alone. So if there is collusion here, one would expect that other people will be charged,” Turley said. “The policy is you can’t charge a sitting president, but that doesn’t apply to other people.”
That’s the crux of Turley’s conclusion, a point which a number of analysts have made over the last few months of the probe. It’s true that the DoJ has a policy against indicting a sitting president, but the lack of indictments for any other Trump-connected people alleging collusive or conspiratorial connections to Russia or even Wikileaks speak loudly. Others would have to be charged with that conduct for it to exist at all, but all Mueller has produced are indictments over past conduct (Rick Gates and Paul Manafort), process crimes related to lying to investigators on other issues, and some show charges against Russians that will never see the inside of a courtroom — and which also do not allege any collusion with Trump or the campaign.
The media has focused attention on what Turley calls the “collateral damage” indictments issued by Mueller in the course of his probe. However, none of those alleged anything close to the core of the Russia-collusion hypothesis that prompted a special-counsel investigation in the first place. With no more indictments coming, a point confirmed by the DoJ and Mueller’s office yesterday, Turley tells CBS This Morning that the whole of the information would “indicate that [Mueller] did not find a conspiracy of collusion.”
And that’s nothing short of “vindication” for Trump, Turley concludes, even if Mueller takes a few shots at Trump on the way out over firing James Comey:
“But let’s give the administration its due: if the special counsel found there is no collusion, that is a vindication for the president,” Turley said. “It doesn’t mean that he acted appropriately, it doesn’t even mean that the special counsel didn’t find evidence that could be criminal. But it clearly indicated that he doesn’t believe there is a criminal case to be made.”
Mueller might take a couple of other shots on his way out, too. The canary in the coal mine for the Russia-collusion hypothesis was Carter Page, whom the FBI surveilled after getting a FISA warrant over his supposedly suspicious activities. Not only did Mueller end up not charging Page with anything, nothing about Page or connected to him in any way showed up in any of Mueller’s indictments. It looks like Page and the Steele dossier used as reasonable suspicion for the FISA warrant were both dead ends. That fact alone makes Turley’s analysis look spot-on.
If that’s the case, there should be accountability for those who sought the warrant in the first place and tied up American politics needlessly for three years.