No collusion… No collusion… No collusion.”
I could hear Donald Trump’s mantra through the window yesterday as I was hanging clothes on the porch at my shack. But it wasn’t Trump speaking; it was William Barr, the attorney general, who was holding a press conference an hour before the release of the redacted Mueller report.
My friend Swamp Rabbit was watching Barr’s speech on the TV. “The fix is in,” he said as I walked in from the porch.
I groaned. “Spare me the cliches, rabbit.”
“I ain’t the one said the fix is in,” Swamp Rabbit said. “It was Jeffrey Toobin.”
He was right. Toobin is an attorney, a writer for the New Yorker, a talking head on CNN, and not exactly a flame-throwing radical. He usually avoids cliches, but what else can you say in light of the way the Mueller report has been handled by Barr who, not long before being chosen for AG by Trump, wrote a memo arguing there was no legal basis for bringing obstruction charges against the president?
Here is Barr at the press conference, kissing up to his boss:
The White House fully cooperated with the Special Counsel’s investigation, providing unfettered access to campaign and White House documents, directing senior aides to testify freely, and asserting no privilege claims… And at the same time, the President took no act that in fact deprived the Special Counsel of the documents and witnesses necessary to complete his investigation.
“Give me a break!” I shouted at the TV. “Trump fought Mueller tooth and nail, every step of the way. He refused to be questioned in person by Mueller. He would have fired Mueller if Don McGahn hadn’t threatened to quit.”
Swamp Rabbit put his feet up on a milk crate. “Calm down, Odd Man, we knew it would go down like this. Ain’t no use crying over spilt whiskey.”
But it was hard to move on. Robert Mueller, everybody’s great hope for justice, seems to have wimped out. He didn’t subpoena Trump, Trump Jr., Eric, Ivanka or Jared Kushner. He identified ten instances of possible criminal obstruction of justice by Trump but wrote no suggestions regarding what should be done with the evidence his team had gathered.
Mueller is no partisan hack like Barr, but one might argue that his apparent decision to protect the institution of the presidency by not charging Trump played directly into the hands of Barr and Trump.
“Then one would be wrong,” Swamp Rabbit said, mocking me. “Mueller was punting the ball to Congress and hoping they’d run with it. And he was counting on average Americans to do the right thing in 2020.”
Later on yesterday, I worked a sales job at the Iron Pigs game in Bethlehem. The ballpark’s loudspeakers cranked out advertisements and bad rock & roll. The noise was deafening but the average Americans in attendance didn’t seem to mind. It might be too late to count on them for anything.