Obstruction is the new collusion

The release of the report from Robert Mueller’s ultimately pointless special counsel investigation on Thursday afternoon has shown us one thing: Obstruction of justice is the new, even lamer sequel to collusion. It is the respectable way of declaring that Donald Trump’s presidency is illegitimate, which is what we have been looking for ways of saying since before his inauguration. If it wasn’t the inherently unjust electoral college, it was the Russians working with Trump’s campaign to steal the election from his opponent, who didn’t even bother to appear in the states she needed to win. If it wasn’t that, it was — well, listen, folks, this man should be impeached because, hold on, let me hit command+F on my keyboard here….

No document in American history has ever been less important than the Mueller report. If all 448 pages had consisted of nothing but the sentence “All work and no play make Bob a dull boy,” we would still be listening to the same decontextualized accusations of “obstruction” from the same self-appointed media experts on executive branch law. These are the same people who tell us that not being “happy” is ipso facto evidence of guilt.

After two years of perfervid speculation about the contents of the pee tape, you would think that journalists would give it a rest. Instead we have moved in the space of about five minutes from theorizing about Trump’s 30-plus years of experience working for the KGB to arguing that his unwillingness to pretend that he really enjoyed having his presidency undermined for half of his first term was a pleasant experience makes him guilty of something called “obstruction of justice.” Collusion was obvious before it was non-existent. Then, in about five seconds, it became irrelevant.