Editorial: Stop waiting for Mueller’s report to save us
FBI Director Robert Mueller testifies before the Senate Intelligence Committee in Washington, March 12, 2013. | Susan Walsh / AP

Wait for the Mueller report, many said, it will reveal everything. The Republicans conspired with the Russians. The election was hacked. Trump will be toast.

Well, we waited. And now the report is in…sort of. It’s in the hands of Attorney General William Barr, who so far has not seen fit to share its contents with the rest of us. The only real takeaway we’ve been given, which much to Trump’s delight has been blasted on front pages and television screens across the country, is: “No collusion.”

Though the tidbits shared by Barr explicitly rule out exonerating the president of other crimes, such as obstruction of justice, the Manchurian Candidate fantasy that was propping up the hopes of many an anti-Trump Democrat has started to crumble.

Many millions of Americans never ventured too far into the nitty-gritty details of the Russia probe and may not have kept up with the fact that three dozen people have been indicted as a result of it. Too many in the media—both conservative and liberal—played right into the Trump narrative that this investigation was all about Russia and collusion. With the apparent lack of a smoking gun in the Mueller report, it appears that, at least in the short term, Trump has been handed a political victory.

With Mueller’s probe limited only to matters related to alleged Russian interference in the election, the spotlight has been taken off other Trump crimes, including serious violations of financial laws, the emoluments clause of the Constitution, pay-for-play foreign policy, including the joining of a war in Yemen in exchange for Saudi loans to the Trump family, and so many other things.

Rightfully, Democrats in Congress are demanding the immediate public release of the full, unredacted Mueller report. Millions are joining the campaign to #ReleaseTheFullMuellerReport and cut off the efforts of Sen. Mitch McConnell and other Republicans to keep it secret.

While progressives are pleased with the seriousness with which the Democrats are apparently continuing their investigations into the corruption and crimes of this president and his administration, Congress as an institution cannot escape having played a major role in undermining democracy in the U.S. by ceding much of its power in recent decades to the executive branch.

During the Nixon years, there was an independent prosecutor accountable to Congress and, through them, to the people. Congress has since allowed the law creating that position to expire. Special Counsel Mueller, regardless of how decent an individual he may or may not have been, was accountable instead to the executive branch. The president, in effect, had ultimate control over who was investigating him. He was able to appoint an attorney general who would front for him—just as Barr is now doing.

When the report does become public, we may learn in greater detail just how closely Trump campaign officials coordinated with Russian operations. Even during Watergate, the initial findings of the special counsel did not indict the president, but merely presented conclusions and left it to Congress to act. There is a chance we could see that scenario play out once more.

But impeachment looks increasingly unlikely, for now. Speaker Nancy Pelosi, calculating the risks of the political game, says Trump “isn’t worth it.” She’s probably correct that a fight around impeachment can’t be won right now, but that doesn’t mean that this president isn’t worth impeaching.

His list of offenses is a mile long: obstructing justice, leveraging public office for personal financial gain, advocating racist violence by covering for the neo-Nazis in Charlottesville, abusing the pardon power, undermining the First Amendment by attacking the free press, unconstitutionally imprisoning children and their families with his immigration policies, campaign finance violations, and more.

He could have been, and by all rights should have been, impeached, convicted, and removed from office by now.

Meanwhile, as we wait (again) for the full Mueller report and the outcome of Congress’ investigations, there can be no waiting when it comes to organizing the fight-back needed to stop Trump and his co-conspirators in the Republican Party and big business.

There are major battles underway right now in states across the country when it comes to Medicaid expansion. The fraudulent “border emergency” that Trump declared in order to start building his racist wall is about to come up for another vote in the House and the Pentagon is shifting $1 billion toward construction. Dreamers and Temporary Protected Status holders are counting on H.R. 6, the “Dream and Promise Act.”

The “For the People Act,” H.R. 1—which would outlaw racist gerrymandering, make voter registration easier, and restore the Voting Rights Act—has passed the House, but needs public pressure to make it through the GOP-dominated Senate.

Workers everywhere would benefit from the passage of the “Workers’ Freedom to Negotiate Act,” which would make it easier to organize workplace unions and negotiate with bosses over pay, benefits, and more. Right now, workers who try to form a union face harassment and even getting fired.

And the fact that medical bills are still the number one cause of bankruptcy for working families points to the immediate need to defend the Affordable Care Act and advance the fight to win Medicare for All.

All of this, and we have barely mentioned foreign or environmental policy yet or how they relate to the 2020 elections. Are we going to allow an out-of-control president to continue the war in Yemen or start a new one in Venezuela?

There’s too much work to be done. The work must begin now. We cannot wait for the Mueller report to save us.


CONTRIBUTOR

People’s World Editorial Board
People’s World Editorial Board

People’s World Editorial Board: Editor-in-Chief John Wojcik, Managing Editor C.J. Atkins, Social Media Editor Chauncey K. Robinson, Senior Editor Roberta Wood, Senior Editor Joe Sims, Copy Editor Eric A. Gordon, Washington D.C. Bureau Chief Mark Gruenberg

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