How best to describe the cooperation between Russian operatives and the current regime? “Collusion in the open.” The Mueller report, when released to the public, may not suggest a “criminal conspiracy” between these groups, since that requires clear evidence of “corrupt intent,” according to legal experts. But there is ample evidence that the Republican presidential campaign encouraged and supported efforts by Russians to influence the election outcome then lied about it. That evidence comes from tweets, reports of meetings and the testimony of some campaign officials during their trials for lying to federal agents, all of whom were convicted or are currently indicted. Giving a wink and a nod isn’t the same as actively conspiring, but it is still anti-democratic and unethical.
Further, it is surprising that Mr. Mueller left the decision concerning obstruction of justice to the AG without even questioning “Individual 1.” And for the AG to decide there was insufficient evidence of such a charge was to be expected. He was already of the opinion that the Mueller investigation was inappropriate and agreed with the DOJ’s opinion that a sitting president can’t be indicted.
Ultimately, we do not know what Mr. Mueller reported since both the attorney general and the senate majority leader have blocked its release. That, of course, leads to speculation about reasons for hiding it from the public. There was no such reluctance concerning the special prosecutors report on Bill Clinton. But, then, he was a Democrat facing and Republican Congress. Can we say “cover-up”?
Robert B. Harris, Ph. D.
Albany (March 29)