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Investigators, like prosecutors, use words like “innocent” exceedingly rarely. Concerning the investigation into alleged collusion between Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and the Russians, absolute proof of innocence would require 24/7 transcripts of every activity and every conversation by every member of the Trump campaign or the Russian government. Or perhaps both.
So what Special Counsel Robert Mueller delivered was as close to proof as we can achieve in an imperfect world. After two years and over $25 million searching for evidence, not only was the result insufficient to assure a conviction, but there was no basis even to file charges.
To debate obstruction of justice is nonsensical at this point, now that we know investigators were never on the trail of an actual crime. This would be true even if it were known that obstruction of the investigation had occurred because certain charges rarely make sense on their own. In the case of mail fraud, for example, a perpetrator conspires to defraud someone, and then commits a second crime when he uses the postal service to execute his scheme.
Obstruction of justice has to do with impeding “the due administration of justice.” With no collusion, there was no true administration of justice to impede. It is hard to fault the president for trying to bring an end to a waste of public resources, something we ordinarily praise public servants for doing. Even if his actions technically were wrong they would hardly be “high crimes and misdemeanors.”
Mueller’s recent statement to the media led some observers to say that had prosecuting the president been an option, Mueller would have recommended it for the obstruction charge. He said given that the president cannot be indicted, “it would be unfair to potentially accuse somebody of a crime when there can be no court resolution of the actual charge.” Mueller believed he could not suggest that he thought the president guilty even if he did, as a simple matter of fairness—while leaving the door open for others to do as they will.
If fairness mattered to others as well, that would be the end of the story. Without question, it would be better for the nation for us to move on, and that is what polls tell us most Americans hope the nation will do.
But they will be disappointed. They will be disappointed because leftist partisans never approached the Mueller investigation as a neutral attempt to determine the truth, but as a step toward their predetermined goal of removing the president.
This is why support for impeachment is growing among Democrats. This is why House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) has scheduled a hearing on “Lessons from the Mueller Report: Presidential Obstruction and Other Crimes,” as if we had learned that obstruction and “other crimes” had indeed occurred, and we now need to learn “lessons” from these nonevents.
The more the Democrats come up with nothing, the louder the drumbeat for impeachment will become. This is not about justice. It’s about mob justice. And America will be putting up with it until the 2020 election, because House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) can neither silence nor satisfy the mob.
Pelosi cannot decide that enough is enough and it is time to get to the actual business of governance, because the mob would revolt against her leadership. She cannot move forward with impeachment, because she would become the joke of the Senate. She has no choice but to let the mob rule.
This is the real obstruction we now face: House Democrats abusing their powers of oversight and investigation to obstruct the normal, functioning of government, as they dig in vain for evidence to impeach.
When we look at how much the Trump Administration has accomplished in two and a half years, we must consider how much more could have been done if the president and his administration’s officials had not been forced to waste so much time addressing a bogus investigation.
Expect Democrats to continue holding hearings and “building a case” until October 2020, and for a sudden “revelation” to cast a pall over the final weeks before the election. During those few weeks the hearings can be used to damage the president with no evidence at all.
If there is a silver lining in all this, it is that the longer this goes on, the more obvious it becomes that President Trump was right to use the term “witch hunt” from the beginning. We may hope that Americans will recognize the only just and appropriate way to bring this to an end is to return control of the House to Republicans as they re-elect the president. That is the way for government to get back to work, for Pelosi to escape the Catch-22 in which she now finds herself, and for the president to continue to accomplish great things for the nation.
Photo Credit: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images