Independent and establishment journalists at odds over the Mueller Report’s significance

A picture of Donald Trump with a picture of Robert Mueller.
Bryan Wall

With the publication by the US Department of Justice (DOJ) of the ‘Mueller Report’, the controversy around Donald Trump has not eased. Robert Mueller, special counsel for the DOJ, headed up the investigation. Part of the reason for his investigation was examining claims of Russian interference in the presidential elections in 2016. Many journalists, politicians, and pundits claimed that Mueller would find the Russian government helped to elect Trump.

With the publication of the report, Trump is declaring that he has been found innocent of any wrongdoing. But journalists are butting heads over the importance of the report, and if it really delivers what they thought it would. Part of this disagreement comes from the fact that some of those who claimed Trump was in league with Russia are standing their ground.

Russian collusion?

Many journalists are arguing that the Mueller Report does not exonerate Trump. Mehdi Hasan, for example, has debated this on Twitter with fellow journalist Aaron Maté. Hasan said it was sad to see some left-wing journalists acting like “like Trump apologists”:

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Maté responded that the claims of a Russian conspiracy have now been shown to be incorrect. This, he said, has handed Trump a “massive exoneration”:

Hasan, however, asserted that only focusing on Mueller’s investigation of alleged Russian collusion is ‘narrow’:

But Maté was insistent that he got “this story right”.

His point was that there was never any evidence of Russian collusion:

Obstruction

Even so, Mueller did not completely exonerate Trump. Robert Reich, the former US secretary of labour, pointed to Trump’s apparent attempts to obstruct the investigation:

Mueller himself wrote in the report that:

certain individuals associated with the Campaign lied to investigators about Campaign contacts with Russia and have taken other actions to interfere with the investigation.

And specifically on Trump, Mueller pointed out that:

At the same time, 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. Based on the facts and the applicable legal standards, we are unable to reach that judgment.

Award-winning journalist Glenn Greenwald also admitted Trump’s apparent obstruction. But at the same time, he rounded on the journalists who pushed the Russian collusion “conspiracy”:

Possible impeachment

The report contains enough evidence for some people, though. Because of its contents, for example, senator Elizabeth Warren has called on Democrats to impeach Trump. Warren, who is also a Democratic Party hopeful for the 2020 presidential elections, argued that “Congress has a constitutional duty to start impeachment proceedings”:

Congresswoman Ilhan Omar backed this move:

And so did fellow congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. She has added her name to a resolution introduced by fellow congresswoman Rashida Tlaib in March calling for Trump’s impeachment:

Trump’s future

With the 2020 elections soon approaching, Trump must be held accountable. But given the establishment media’s role in stirring up the Russian interference conspiracy, it may have just handed him a re-election victory. In spite of this, Democrats might still impeach him before then. And if that happens, don’t expect Trump to go quietly.

Featured image via Flickr – Gage Skidmore/ Wikimedia Commons – The White House

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