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Opinion | There is nothing to be happy about in the Mueller report

President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden meet with senior advisors in the Oval Office to discuss the shooting in Aurora, Colorado, July 20, 2012. Pictured, from left, are: Kathryn Ruemmler, Counsel to the President, and FBI Director Robert Mueller. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza) This official White House photograph is being made available only for publication by news organizations and/or for personal use printing by the subject(s) of the photograph. The photograph may not be manipulated in any way and may not be used in commercial or political materials, advertisements, emails, products, promotions that in any way suggests approval or endorsement of the President, the First Family, or the White House.

Why are you so happy?

I’ve asked this question at least a hundred times over the last week, ever since Republicans started their weird victory dance over the Mueller Report. Because honestly, I simply don’t understand the glee and the “suck-it-libs” attitude that have dominated GOP circles.

Over at Republican Party TV network, Fox News, the top opinion hosts have spent the last week threatening all of those who pushed for an investigation into Russian-Trump collusion.

The White House put out a hit list to TV producers, claiming certain elected officials should no longer be allowed as guests because they all pushed Russia-Trump collusion.

Here in Alabama, Republicans couldn’t hold back from their unbridled euphoria. Party chair Terry Lathan took a break from making stuff up about Sen. Doug Jones to tweet “No collusion and No witches!” U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks one-upped that nonsense by reading from Hitler’s “Mein Kampf” to allege an anti-Trump conspiracy among the media.

Um, excuse me, but just what in the name of Benghazi are y’all talking about?

I know that Republicans are masters of rewriting history in order to believe whatever they want to believe, but I don’t think that it’s too much to ask that y’all be somewhat familiar with the major events of the past two years, particularly the parts dealing with Robert Mueller’s investigation into Trump and his band of half-wits, carnival barkers, con men and Eric.

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Actually, before we even get to that, we need to say right up front that none of you have any idea what the Mueller report actually says. There are a lot of facts and a lot of evidence cited in that report that so far hasn’t the seen the light of day, and until it does, I think it’s more than fair to reserve judgment. After all, had James Comey issued a report on Hillary Clinton’s emails, and then AG Loretta Lynch had made public only a brief summary saying Hillary was cleared, something tells me you wouldn’t be too accepting of it.

Now, let’s get back to recent history.

This whole mess started because America’s intelligence agencies learned of a massive effort by Russia to influence the 2016 presidential election, and those agencies agreed that the primary goal was to get Trump elected.

In addition, we kept learning about contact between the Trump campaign and Russian officials. That includes contact between former AG and all-around awful person Jeff Sessions, who failed to disclose those meetings — and potentially lied about them — during his confirmation hearing.

There was also the infamous Trump Tower meeting, the potential blackmail evidence Russia held over Trump, the Russian spy with NRA ties, Michael Flynn’s shady contacts and multiple instances of contact — usually unexplainable — between Trump’s election team and high ranking Russian officials.

And let us not forget Trump continuously flaunting his Russian connections while on the campaign trail — begging Russia to hack Clinton, stating how much he loves Wikileaks and quoting from hacked DNC emails that were published by Wikileaks.

With all of that going on, Trump fired Comey. And to make matters worse, he then, a few days later, bragged to a couple of Russians about it in a private Oval Office meeting. Which should be dumb enough for him to at least spend a few nights in jail just so we’re all relatively sure he learned something from this.

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So, despite your current rewrite of history, there were very legitimate concerns of Trump-Russia collusion — concerns that weren’t just pushed by Democrats or “the liberal media.” Concerns so troubling that a Congress dominated by Republicans — a Congress that hasn’t exactly been known for its cooperative mindset — agreed to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate them.

And very quickly, that special prosecutor, Mueller, found evidence of collusion.

George Papadopoulos, a foreign affairs advisor on Trump’s election team, was actively working with the Russians who hacked the DNC servers and obtained Clinton campaign emails. Another advisor, Carter Page, was aware of Papadopoulos’ trips and contacts, and approved some of them. And then they both lied about it all.

Paul Manafort, Trump’s campaign manager, was up to his jowls in Russian business. Sessions kept meeting with the Russian consulate and then lying about it. There were documents in Mueller’s court filings detailing the extensive conversations that took place between Trump’s team and Russians about a host of issues, including the arranging of a meeting between Trump and Putin.

There’s also the not-so-small matter of 30-plus people, including six Trump campaign staffers, being charged with around 200 crimes — almost all of them stemming from Russian hacking of our election or Trump associates repeatedly lying about their contacts with Russians.

So, really, spare me the outrage.

This Mueller probe was warranted. It was conducted fairly and with professionalism. And it received from the media the attention you would expect for a criminal investigation into the potentially treasonous acts committed by a U.S. president.

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And at the end of it, even if we give Barr and his summary the benefit of the doubt, there’s no vindicated anyone. There’s a president who possibly obstructed justice, who employed a team of felons that constantly lied about their contacts with Russia, who repeatedly and with zeal skirted election laws, who currently is under multiple federal and state investigations, and who, at the absolute best, was the unwitting beneficiary of a hostile foreign nation’s efforts to get him elected.

 No one should be happy about any of that.


Josh Moon is an investigative reporter and featured columnist at the Alabama Political Reporter with years of political reporting experience in Alabama. You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter.

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