Commentary

Phillipian Commentary: Mueller Report

E.Huang/The Phillipian

I thought I’d already seen the most ridiculous of President Donald Trump’s Twitter page before last Thursday, but he proved me short-sighted. On April 18, 2019, he posted a meme reading, “No collusion. No obstruction. For the haters and radical left Democrats—Game Over”, written in the seasonally-appropriate Game of Thrones theme font, plastered over a photoshopped image of the president himself standing amongst smoke. The tweet’s absurdity caused a frenzy throughout my Twitter feed, but it distracted from the main problem with the sentiment of the tweet itself—it presented potentially misleading information about the President’s ties to Russia.

That morning, Attorney General Bill Bar presented his interpretation of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia in a press conference. The investigation culminated in a report where Mueller “identified numerous links between the Russian government and the Trump Campaign” but could not establish collusion, and wrote that “if we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the President clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state.” To me, statements like these from Mueller’s report, along with other eye-catchers (like the President saying ‘Oh my God. This is terrible. This is the end of my Presidency. I’m fucked,’ upon learning of Mueller’s appointment), uncover clear guilt on behalf of the campaign, even if no criminal charges were brought against Trump himself. However, Attorney General Barr’s report of Mueller’s findings told a different story, leaving out these details and instead presenting Trump and the campaign as innocent of all charges.

Barr and Trump continued to mislead the American public and Congress by claiming no obstruction occurred—yes, Mueller decided not to rule on obstruction, but largely because Department of Justice policy prevents the indictment of a sitting president, an important detail that many of my celebrating conservative family members were unaware of. Barr does the American people injustice by using his position as Attorney General to spread deception and prevent the Trump campaign from being brought to justice. I feel that reports like Barr’s continue the government-perpetrated trend of giving Americans a choice between believing facts and ‘alternative facts’ (a convenient misnomer for ‘lies,’ coined unironically by presidential counselor Kellyanne Conway). Barr should have presented Mueller’s findings objectively.

The American people deserve a presidency free of foreign influence, public deceit, and attempted meddling with the electoral process. Although I’m no federal prosecutor like Barr or Mueller, it is clear to me that a campaign whose activities prompt the indictments of thirty-four people (six of which were campaign officials and twenty-six of which were Russian nationals) does not give this to us. What about a candidate whose campaign officials meet privately with Russian Kremlin-linked lawyers to discuss receiving damaging information about their opponent? Whatever the Trump campaign is, it isn’t normal. Barr’s rulings on the campaign’s activities have set a dangerous precedent for future political campaigns. Since conversing with foreign operatives about influencing American elections has been deemed acceptable in Trump’s case, what’s to say this won’t happen again?

Bill Barr should resign as Attorney General to prevent withholding justice toward the Trump campaign, especially since he was appointed to this position by Trump himself. If the American people want a president who reflects integrity and plays by the rules, they should stand against President Trump in 2020, no matter their party. Let’s create a more honest nation.