The Mueller report is finished. The saga is over. America (or rather the America that remains obsessed with the 5 o’clock news) suffered the final la petite mort when it comes the Russia probe. Honestly very little of this was all that surprising. I always bought the Wolfean thesis of a man who was never all that serious about being president over someone who wanted to win so bad he would literally do anything, like work with Russian intelligence. That being said, the idea of him casually reaching out or, like the girl finding herself the prettiest in accounting, being excited due to his naivete and pure ego, wasn’t also out of the question.
So in no particular order; the good, the bad and the miscellaneous.
- The president of the United States is not an actively treasonous person.
It seems that there are some who remain genuinely disappointed by this. While it is convenient to blame “the media,” there really were boosters in cable news who kept this narrative breathlessly alive. There was this sense that there was going to be some climactic, karmic reckoning. All the wrongs would be righted. Which honestly makes sense. Trump winning the presidency right after eight years of Obama was to progressives how I imagine Roman Catholics would feel if some fire and brimstone Southern Baptist became elected to the papacy (presumably Pope Jim Bob I).
The utter disbelief that 2016 induced (and who could blame them?) was ameliorated by this belief that there would be some messianic arrival, like King Arthur, Bonnie Prince Charlie or Aslan, who would return and sweep away the cosmic injustice. Naturally, since Mueller has declined to play this part, the reaction has been less than inspiring.
Nevertheless, these revelations remain good news. Think of every major presidential political scandal. None would really compare to the gravity of a presidential nominee actively conspiring with one of America’s top (and historical) geopolitical rivals to either break American laws or at least benefit politically from said law-breaking. We do not have such a political crisis on our hands. This should be met with a sigh of relief.
- We’re done. Finally. Is no one else even slightly relieved? We can finally talk about anything else. If anything, I think Michael over at National Review is correct, this will free up the presidential campaign to talk about something else besides how the Kremlin is responsible for Robby Mook telling Grandma not to campaign in the Midwest.
The Democrats kept their 2018 midterms campaign largely focused on the issue of healthcare, with which they clocked the GOP which they tried to make a referendum on Trump. Not only did the Democrats pick up 41 seats, they won the majority vote by over 8% in the highest midterm vote since 1914. Even more worryingly for the GOP, the Democrats performed well in the traditionally blue Rust Belt states that Trump desperately needs to keep the White House next year. Even more interestingly, the polling in 2018 in the Midwest was pretty much spot on. This will mean the 2020 GOP campaign will have their work cut out for them as the Trump approval ratings in OH, PA, WI and MI are dismal at best.
Naturally, all isn’t lost for the GOP and the last 24 hours is making me feel a bit better about my $100 bet that Trump wins 2020 (remember AJ, it’s 2:1 not 1:1 odds). Most voters don’t even pay attention to September and removing the Russia cloud will allow them to run on a record of North Korean peace and a growing economy.
- This will definitely sideline other important investigations
Personally, I always thought the New York state investigation and various House committee investigations were always a larger threat to Trump (And if you think I’m just being a Trump hater, ask Andy McCarthy and MBD over at NR). The fact of the matter is that the GOP still got into bed with a dirty individual. Between credible sexual assault allegations, criminal campaign finance violations, and other similar shenanigans, this Russia victory will basically allow any additional, credible finding of wrongdoing to be handwaved away by roughly 40% of the country. Politically the country will continue its course of defining political deviancy down (which was always the strategy if things went south on the Mueller probe).
- There may be retribution. Just as there will be media and Democratic figures who can’t just take a loss, there are already those who simply cannot take a win. There are already calls for retaliatory investigations for the erstwhile investigators. Given Rep. Devin Nunes’ statements, it seems that these will gain some steam. No doubt if the Democrats win 2020 there will be an investigation of the investigation of the investigators.
More of a question than a statement, I am not a lawyer but it seems to me that the Trump Tower meeting is in itself a bit of a crime, no? US law already prohibits soliciting a donation in kind from a foreign a national, which is exactly what Don Jr & Co. literally did with their bizarre Russian meeting. If Bannon says it looks bad, it seems you can take that to the bank:
Even if you thought that this was not treasonous, or unpatriotic, or bad shit, and I happen to think it’s all of that, you should have called the FBI immediately.
Or maybe I’m wrong. I’m surprised if the Democrats wanted to make more hay out of this why wouldn’t they subpoena Don Jr and Kushner (another scion of a famously dirty family) directly to testify to see what really went down there.
All in all, 2.5 cheers for America, not a bad day overall but no doubt things will, as always, get stupider.