No one should be surprised by the Mueller Report

No one with any hint of objectivity should be surprised by the summary of the Mueller Report looking into what exactly happened during the 2016 election. The report found no coordination between the Trump campaign and the Russian government – despite offers from Russian individuals – while also noting the Kremlin did attempt to influence the election through social media campaigns. A lot of this information we already knew based on testimony before Congress by social media heads along with statements made by the Justice Department and Department of Homeland Security in 2016.

Jazz wondered why the special counsel was even ordered – given how drawn out the probe went – but the investigation was more than likely worth it. Anyone with a hint of knowledge into law enforcement investigations knows probes do not get wrapped up in 60-minute intervals – despite what television and movies tend to portray. The Warren Commission into JFK’s assassination took about a year to finish, but the FBI probe into Watergate took around two. Ken Starr probed the Clinton White House for four years – although the Monica Lewinsky part moved pretty quickly due to Linda Tripp’s tapes. The FBI investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email server technically started in 2015, but it’s important to remember the State Department had been probing the issue since 2014 – not to mention the congressional investigation into Benghazi. Complicated investigations tend to take time, although the cynic in me thinks a lot of this happens because pencil pushers are trying to prove their worth to their bosses, so it should not be surprising Mueller took two years.

There are Democrats – and others who believe President Donald Trump is a real-life Manchurian Candidate – who are clinging to Robert Mueller’s line in Attorney General William Barr’s letter which says, “while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.”

This is pure foolishness.

A reminder to everyone of what former FBI Director James Comey told reporters in July 2016 regarding Clinton’s email server.

Although we did not find clear evidence that Secretary Clinton or her colleagues intended to violate laws governing the handling of classified information, there is evidence that they were extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information….

Mueller’s comment is extremely similar to Comey’s statement – in the sense it says the report “does not exonerate him” – although the latter used more harsh language towards Clinton. Mueller is just stating a fact: no evidence exists. There’s always a chance new evidence will come forward implicating Trump, although extremely doubtful and highly unlikely.

The investigation still should have happened because it showed Russia did try to get involved in a U.S. election and will probably try again. It’s not like the United States has ever tried to influence foreign elections (*cough* Brexit and the Cold War *cough*). It’s possible to see this as America gettings its just desserts for the interference by past presidential administrations.

A part of me hopes the U.S. government will actually learn from Russia’s involvement in 2016 and decide to stop whatever inference they were planning to do elsewhere. A part of me also hopes Americans, in general, will learn to not blindly believe every single meme or ad or article posted on social media, and try to do research for themselves.

The cynic in me says no one learns anything.

It would also be nice for the Justice Department to release the full report, once everything goes through the grand jury system. The full release would show transparency and, more importantly, encourage Americans to draw up their own conclusions on what actually happened. I don’t expect people to draw up their own conclusions – given their propensity to take certain things on blind faith – but it would still nice to read what Mueller and his team found.

It’s doubtful the release of the report will actually change a large swath of people’s opinion of Trump. Those who despise him will still yell “Collusion!” like some town crier, while those who love the president will yell, “He’s innocent!” with equal ferocity. Those caught between the two will probably agree with some of Trump’s decisions while finding fault with others. It would be nice if 2020 would be about an actual discussion of issues – without some vague term – but it’s doubtful. One can still hope.