Column: Mueller report will change politics, but not by unseating Trump

Matt Hersey, columnist

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On March 22, Attorney General William Barr finally received Robert Mueller’s report after nearly two years of building speculation as to whether or not President Donald J. Trump, or members of his team, colluded with Russia to win the 2016 election.

Over the last two years a number of people close to Trump were fired, indicted or jailed. Mueller indicted four of Trump’s personal advisors: former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort, Manafort’s business partner Rick Gates, former Trump national security advisor Michael Flynn and the Nixon “dirty trickster” Roger Stone. Mueller also indicted 12 Russian intelligence agents for hacking the DNC’s email servers.

Yet, when Attorney General Anthony Barr delivered his summary of the report to Congress, it fell short of indicting or exonerating Trump. We may never see the full picture of what Mueller found. The question of whether or not Trump should be indicted is no longer up to Mueller, unless further evidence comes forward that criminalizes the president.

If Congress continues investigating Trump, its motivation would be fear that Trump may win the 2020 election. The tendency for the media and Democrats to paint Trump as a malevolent figure only strengthens his base. If Democrats are prioritizing America’s best interests, pursuing Trump’s impeachment is not reflective of that. While Trump’s presidency has degraded the United States’ reputation in the global community and ignored or shamed progressive social issues, his impeachment would make him a martyr to those among us who believe in his rhetoric and admonish the so-called “fake news.”

I’ve found the Mueller report to be bothersome at best. Much of the coverage speculating the details of the Mueller report focused on the obvious comparison between Trump and former President Richard Nixon during Watergate. In reality, the political climate and lack of technology while Nixon was investigated was instrumental to the outcome of that investigation. Back then, the operatives employed to steal documents from Democrats were physically in the United States and were caught. Furthermore, the paper trail led straight back to Nixon, the payments revealing his role in the conspiracy.

In Trump’s case, if he colluded with Russia, those who acted for him were not physically in the United States and finding any kind of paper trail connecting the president to those operatives may be impossible. Thanks to modern technology, it is more difficult to track, for example, offshore accounts or any other ways money can be hidden from investigators.

Since it cannot be proven that the president colluded with Russia, it’s not worth dwelling on it. Plenty of journalists or broadcasters may speak of the implications and precedents set by this, but it’s not going to change the lack of evidence that exists to support that theory.

Instead, the conclusion of the investigation and the subsequent release of this report is a chance for Americans to realize that our country incorrectly chose someone to lead us under the guise of “draining the swamp.” The only thing we’ve actually obtained from his presidency is division. Rather than working to heal this division, the Mueller report kept us from creating opportunities to bridge the divide among Americans.

Soon, we will get the opportunity to elect someone who best reflects us. In 2020, I urge voters to choose a leader that aligns best with their personal beliefs about the American identity — an identity of honor and excellence — so that neither Mueller nor anyone is asked to question the integrity of the presidential office again.