Special Counsel Robert Mueller has just officially signaled the end of the Russia investigation, as he handed in his much-anticipated report to Attorney General William Barr.
It's been a long time coming. The day we finally get to see—or at least hear about—one of the most potentially fateful reports in U.S. history is here. As everyone gathers around the virtual agora to find out what's in it, we must come to understand that its contents might forever change America and rock it to its core. The way politics is done in this country, the way the whole system works, and what future presidents will be able to get away with or not from now on will be determined by this one, crucial report.
And America gasps at the news that Trump might get away with it all, as Mueller submits his Trump-Russia report.
The fate of a nation
Most of us understand this. The anticipation is palpable not only in Washington, but across state lines—nay, across borders, I should say. Though America is not the center of the world, its future bears upon the fate of many nations, for the office of the self-proclaimed leader of the free world is nothing without at least a semblance of legitimacy to other Western nations—a legitimacy Trump has been straining to its limits (or, as some say, beyond) ever since he took office over two years ago.
The stakes have never been higher. All eyes are on Mueller now, as he delivered his report to Attorney General William Barr just minutes ago, officially closing his controversial investigation into the relationship between Russia and Trump's campaign. So far, many close Trump associates have been indicted and arrested, including Trump's longtime lawyer Michael Cohen, his ally Roger Stone, as well as consultant political consultant Paul Manafort, who was recently sentenced to over 7 years in prison.
Trump has infamously condemned the investigation every step of the way, trying to undermine it in the public eye by calling it a "witch hunt," "unconstitutional," and "illegal." He has actually gone as far as claiming that Mueller's probe is the “greatest Witch Hunt in the History of our Country!," effectively dismissing the literal witch hunts of the Salem trials, for example.
So, what's next?
Now we have to wait. Again. But at least we know the report is out there, finished, finalized, done. All the words, all the evidence, the results of two years of hard labor are contained within its pages. Truth, as it happens, has already been written down. At least as best as Mueller could, we hope.
The next step is for William Barr to report to Congress, which could happen as soon as this weekend, according to a letter he sent to congressional leaders. In the same letter, Barr assures them he's already reviewing the report.
Lindsey Graham, chair of the Senate judiciary committee, released the following statement:
The Department of Justice has notified me and Ranking Member Feinstein that the Mueller Report has been turned over to Attorney General Barr. This notification indicates that Attorney General Barr will pursue as much transparency as possible. Importantly, the notification also indicates that there were no areas of disagreement between the Attorney General or the Acting Attorney General and Special Counsel Mueller regarding courses of action. This information is specifically required to be disclosed by the regulations governing Special Counsel reports. I expect both Ranking Member Feinstein and I will be briefed more thoroughly about the report in the coming days. I will work with Ranking Member Feinstein and our House Judiciary Committee colleagues to ensure as much transparency as possible, consistent with the law. I have always believed it was important that Mr. Mueller be allowed to do his job without interference, and that has been accomplished.
According to the Department of Justice, Mueller is not recommending any further indictments. But only time will tell how this all unravels.
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The damage against Trump so far
In total, Mueller's investigation led to the criminal convictions of five Trump collaborators: his campaign chairman, his deputy chairman, his personal attorney, and two policy advisers. Michael Cohen has famously collaborated in full with authorities, and has testified several times against Trump, including before Congress.
Paul Manafort. Credit: Shutterstock.
Cohen admitted Trump has lied on several occasions, directed him to fulfill illegal actions, paid him dirty money, and claimed the sitting President is an outright racist. If true, these allegations would seriously compromise the legitimacy of Trump's administration. If indeed no further indictments follow, Trump's reputation can still suffer a hit in the public eye depending on what the report ultimately reveals.
We'll soon find out just how much evidence Mueller could gather and what his two-year inquiry ended up revealing. It's been a long time coming.
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