How will Democrats react to the news that the 2016 election was on the level and that the president of the United States didn’t work with Russia to get into the White House? Van Jones told Don Lemon last night that Democrats need “a chance to be sad” about Robert Mueller’s no-collusion conclusion and Donald Trump’s survival. After getting a chance to “grieve,” though, Jones wants them to “get back to work,” or else Trump will end up winning another term with their collusion:
Van Jones on Mueller findings: “There’s an honest level of sadness and disappointment and disorientation among progressives and Democrats and I think it goes deeper than just what’s in the report.” https://t.co/8qlkvnzaED pic.twitter.com/mYzzh7mcz4
— CNN (@CNN) March 25, 2019
Jones makes a smart point about focusing on policy rather than scandal, but loses it in what looks like an attempt to paint Democrats as the victim of the Robert Mueller probe. Former Ted Cruz comms director Alice Stewart dropped the hammer on the main point around which Jones was dancing. Okay, Democrats will be sad and grieving — so what does that say about them?
STEWART: I think Van hit the nail on the head. Democrats are so hell-bent on being anti-Trump that they’re becoming anti-American on this. Look, at the end of the day after this investigation — look, when you have the head of this probe and the head of this investigation telling us that — the client here — that there was no collusion and no obstruction, then he’s exonerated. Why can’t the Democrats just acknowledge that fact?
Jones disputes this by saying that Democrats would “be out there protesting and rioting” if they didn’t accept the Mueller report. Well, it’s still early, so Jones might not want to rest his case on a no-protests basis quite yet. Those aren’t the only forms of not accepting the results, either. Democrats in Congress already claim that they have more evidence than Mueller has and can connect the dots on both collusion and obstruction, and now want to subpoena Mueller to grill him on why he didn’t connect those dots himself.
Stewart was prepared for Jones’ denial:
STEWART: I think unfortunately they’re not. That’s why we have Jerry Nadler out there today saying that he wants to bring Barr before his House Judiciary panel because of what he calls the quote “underhandedness” of the way this review was done and the way the investigation was conducted. They’re not going to take this lying down. And unfortunately, I think — seeing the response by Democrats and those on the Left today, it was a flashback to the election day of 2016. You could almost hear the phone call canceling the fireworks at the Javit Center today.
Jones and Don Lemon seem similarly unable to let this go entirely, with the former arguing that “we’ve only seen the Barr report, not the Mueller report,” and Lemon fumbling on exoneration. Lemon finally acknowledged that Mueller had exonerated Trump on collusion but stuck to the argument in Barr’s report that Mueller hadn’t exonerated Trump on obstruction. Here’s something for commentators to remember: it’s not a prosecutor’s job to exonerate anyone. They either bring charges or they don’t, and Mueller pointedly never brought charges against Trump at all.
So far, it looks like Democrats are stuck between the first two stages on the Kübler-Ross progression of grief: anger and denial. It’s too bad, because the fact that we had a clean election in 2016 should be a relief to Americans … and probably is to most of us.
Update: Fixed a couple of problems in the second-to-last sentence.