It’s Not a Celebration

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Robert Mueller’s report is out, and the headlines are in. And perhaps the most troubling one was a summary claiming that “Trump allies are delighted” with the conclusions reached by the special counsel’s two-year-long investigation into alleged collusion between Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and the Russians.

Does it make sense that anyone, even a partisan Democrat, is not happy, much less upset? One would expect that every decent and patriotic American would be delighted to learn that the president of the United States did not collaborate with a foreign country anxious to gain hostile, strategic advantage.

Yet Democrats are furiously crying that “this is not over”—that they will continue wasting the nation’s resources and impeding the normal function of government, in order to pursue an already-too-lengthy investigation that has proven nothing transpired. Democrats apparently did not take over the House of Representatives in order to pursue a different national agenda, so much as to ensure President Trump would be unable to move forward with his own.

Democrats are grasping at the straw Robert Mueller left unsheared: the possibility that the president somehow engaged in obstruction of justice. But both Attorney General Bill Barr and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein arrived at the obvious conclusion: given that there had been no collusion with Russia, and the president knew there had been no collusion with Russia, how could he “obstruct justice” even if he did everything possible to make the investigation of those falsehoods go away?

If there was substantial evidence of “collusion”—in reality, a criminal conspiracy—it would be logical to argue that firing an investigator or calling for an end to the investigation might amount to an illegal attempt to prevent the wheels of justice from turning. But given that the investigation was nothing more than a waste of time and resources, and the president obviously knew this, there was no “justice” to be obstructed.

It is crazy—so now Democrats need to justify their craziness.

NBC News, which routinely vies with CNN as America’s most grotesquely partisan media outlet, reported that Barr and Rosenstein reached their decision based partially upon “Department of Justice guidelines around prosecuting a sitting president.” In fact, Barr said precisely the opposite, in black and white: “Our determination was made without regard to, and is not based on, the constitutional considerations that surround the indictment and criminal prosecution of a sitting president.” [Emphasis added.]

NBC staffers were so anxious to impugn the president that they read and reported what they wanted to see, rather than what was actually there. Instead of licking its wounds after two years of false predictions of doom for the Trump Administration, the aptly described fake news media has shifted into an even higher gear.

The idea that Russian interference sought only Trump’s advantage is rather silly. Remember that during a 2012 presidential debate, Barack Obama mocked Mitt Romney for calling Russia “the biggest geopolitical threat” we face. Obama said “the ’80s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back, because the Cold War’s been over for 20 years”—and liberals cheered. Romney’s cogent reply that Russia remained a geopolitical foe, and that he had said (in the same paragraph, no less) that “Iran is the greatest national security threat we face” had no effect. In reality, the sole difference between their stated positions was whether or not Russia remained a dangerous adversary—the Republican said “yes,” the Democrat said “no.”

Obama was desperate to imagine away any form of international confrontation, as demonstrated by an “Iran deal” that put Iran on a delayed path to nuclear weapons while providing them with tens of billions of dollars to invest immediately in war and terror throughout the Persian Gulf and the Middle East. He and his allies never took responsibility for those murdered and harmed as a direct result.

Obama’s “red line” in Syria became an international punchline, as Syria went on to use chemical weapons without consequence. Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry hailed an accord which had Russia pledging to remove and destroy Syrian dictator Bashar al Assad’s stockpile. That would be the same Russia under the same Vladimir Putin whom Obama entrusted to perform this critical task.

As secretary of state, Hillary Clinton was anxious in 2012 to blame a video no one had seen for  the massacre of the U.S. ambassador and several other Americans in Benghazi, Libya. Surely Russia, like the rest of us, knew that she would pursue Obama’s policy of letting strongmen have their way.

So to which party would Russia rather hand the presidency via its interference? It is only logical to conclude that they would strongly prefer to see Clinton, not Trump, get the job.

Indeed, if Russia did interfere on Trump’s behalf, it has paid off rather poorly. When Assad used chemical weapons once again, Trump did not reach an accord; he delivered his rebuke to Syria via cruise missile—and expressly blamed the Russians for their failure.

When Russia poisoned former MI6 double agent Sergei Skripal along with his daughter Yulia, Trump responded by expelling 60 Russian diplomats and closing the Russian consulate in Seattle. He then imposed sanctions that resulted in a 10 percent devaluation of the ruble against the dollar, from which the ruble has yet to recover.

Trump had nice things to say about Putin at a Helsinki summit, which caused Democrats to howl with outrage and the media to claim Trump had been “outmaneuvered.” Yet he then slapped on additional sanctions: on arms sales, arms-sales financing, U.S. government credit or other financial assistance, exports of national-security-sensitive goods, and most foreign assistance. This was done under the terms of the Chemical and Biological Weapons Control and Elimination Act—and attributed once again to the assassination of the Skripals.

Against this backdrop, it should have been obvious the Trump was not acting like one who had received favors from the Russians. He simply knows the relative value of words versus actions.

All we know, in the end, is that the Democrats were the ones compromised by Russian hackers. Considering the way Hillary Clinton handled her emails, this comes as little surprise.

It is time for Democrats to address their failings, rather than to pursue additional, fruitless investigations against the president. They must contribute to moving America forward, rather than trying to obstruct progress with needless distractions built upon fantasy.

But given their response, there is little cause for optimism in that regard.

Photo Credit: Michael Reynolds – Pool/Getty Images

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About Rabbi Yaakov Menken

Rabbi Yaakov Menken is the Managing Director of the Coalition for Jewish Values, the largest Rabbinic public policy organization in America.