The conclusion drawn by Special Counsel Robert Mueller vindicates Donald Trump of a serious charge. The findings provide answer to a key question that remained hung over Trump’s presidency since the very beginning: Did his campaign work with Russia to defeat Hillary Clinton? As Congress was informed of Mueller’s probe by Attorney General William Barr through a four-page letter, Trump cheered the victory of being absolved of the charge that he or his campaigners conspired with Russian interference in the 2016 election.
“No Collusion, No Obstruction, Complete and Total EXONERATION. KEEP AMERICA GREAT!,” tweeted Trump even though Mueller’s report did not mean a total exoneration. While Mueller’s report does put Trump in the clear as to the Russian meddling claims, it does not draw a conclusion on Trump obstructing the course of justice i.e. whether he sought to stifle the Russia investigation through his actions – including the firing of former FBI director James Comey; requesting Comey to end an investigation into White House’s first national security adviser Michael Flynn; and drafting of an incomplete explanation about his son’s meeting with a Russian lawyer during the election campaign.
Mueller’s report does come as a huge relief for Trump and dashed the hopes of Democrats who were expecting incriminating findings from Mueller to help them in Congress and on the 2020 election campaign. The probe report is, however, set to trigger new rounds of political and legal fighting. Democrats have already demanded to see the probe report in full while pointing out that Mueller found evidence both for and against obstruction.
But in the diplomatic context, i.e. in case of the US-Russia ties, the finding are unlikely to change much as in the words of Stephen Cohen, the two sides have repeatedly interfered in each other’s domestic politics over the past 100 years and they will to continue to do so in the foreseeable future.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 26th, 2019.
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