Op-Ed

Not a hoax, not a witch hunt. What Mueller said, and why it should matter to all of us.

Obstruction of Justice: What the Special Counsel investigated

Here are the 11 instances that Robert Mueller and his team investigated to determine if President Donald Trump obstructed justice.
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Here are the 11 instances that Robert Mueller and his team investigated to determine if President Donald Trump obstructed justice.

It was the “movie” version of the book few had read. It turned out to be more of a recorded book than a potential “Oscar” nominee. Likely neither partisan side got the political bump it expected from Robert Mueller’s testimony to Congress and it is questionable how much the televised encounter affected public opinion. But if you listened carefully, some major points were obvious.

First of all Mueller said his investigation was neither a hoax nor a witch hunt. Correct on both points. He said his report in no way absolved or exonerated the president of the United States of any wrong doing. Correct again. And, in case you missed it, Mueller also said that, while the president cannot be indicted and prosecuted while in office, he may well face that when he leaves it. What he didn’t say but clearly implied to anyone with a modicum of common sense to detect was that, had it been anybody else but a president, you or I, for example, they would have been indicted and prosecuted.

Mueller’s investigation was supposed to probe whether the Russians interfered with the 2016 American election for president. Guess what? That’s exactly what it found with clear and convincing evidence to all except those too willingly blind to see. Mueller found ample evidence that our most powerful and ardent nuclear and international opponent—the Russians—directly interfered with that election and did it to help one man win, the man who won the Electoral College. And it also shows the Russians already have begun trying to do the same thing again in the 2020 election to achieve the same result for the same candidate.

Further, the report clearly shows the winning campaign eagerly sought and encouraged the Russian efforts on its behalf. At one point even publicly encouraging the Russians to offer damning material against its opponent on Wikileakes. While the report concluded that those efforts did not rise to the level of criminal conspiracy, they certainly were clearly undemocratic, a direct and alarming attack on our democracy, and totally unacceptable. If that’s not collusion, the word has no real meaning in the English language. And the winners again are deliberately doing nothing to prevent this repeat because they obviously hope to gain a second term from it.

If that does not border on high crimes and misdemeanors, the standard for impeachment and removal, than we need to amend the phrase from the Constitution and end the hypocrisy. Only candidate Richard Nixon has ever acted with a foreign power to influence an American election when he acted to sabotage peace talks to end the Vietnam War. And why would the Russians interfere with our election by picking a candidate to support? In hopes that that candidate would favor it if elected, which is precisely what this winning candidate has done. Trust me. The Russians have no interest in America’s interests whatsoever. Only their own. Any American candidate who facilitates that is committing treason or else the word no longer has any meaning either.

Barry Peel, a retired TV reporter, is a commentator on Hometown Radio Network in Danville.

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