Special prosecutor Robert S. Mueller has completed his 22 months of hermetic investigation into the Russian plot without finding evidence that Donald Trump or his campaign conspired with Moscow during the 2016 presidential election in order to favor the victory of the Republican.
Mueller does leave open the possibility that he has committed obstruction of justice, the other great shadow that he planned on the president of the United States, but the balance of this Sunday is a political victory. In a combative tone, Trump told the press that the conclusions mean his “total exoneration” and he labeled as “embarrassing” this explosive process, which has marked his entire presidency.
A major turning point in Trump’s presidency was on May 17, 2017, when the Justice Department placed the most sensitive federal investigation in years into the hands of an independent special prosecutor, of the possible pact between the US president and more or less than Russia, the old enemy of the Cold War. Mueller has raised so many rugs to try to clarify this that, over two years, have come to light all a string of other crimes – with 34 indicted individuals – a tide of lies and even old contentious of the president with a movie actress.
The other great turn took place this Sunday afternoon, almost two years later, when the United States Attorney General, William Barr, delivered to Congress his conclusions on the Mueller report, a four-page letter and two very clear ideas Russian interference took place, but there is no sign that the campaign of Trump or another US citizen was coordinated with her.
“The special prosecutor has not found that Trump’s campaign, or anyone associated with it, conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in those efforts of interference despite the multiple offers of people linked to Russia for helping the campaign. Trump, “says Barr.
A team of 19 lawyers assisted by 40 FBI agents, intelligence analysts, forensic accountants and other professionals have dealt with the case and issued up to 2,800 summonses, 500 search warrants and 280 communications registration orders, as well as having interrogated a thousand witnesses
Mueller, however, has not been able to rule on whether Trump has committed a crime of obstruction of justice, something that could be concluded if it is proven that he lied to investigators during the investigation of the Russian plot, or if he pressured the former director FBI James Comey, who also fired, to close the case. “While this report does not conclude that he has committed a crime, he does not exonerate him either,” says Mueller in his report, according to Barr’s letter.
The special prosecutor, in fact, has chosen to describe Trump’s actions and leave it to the Department of Justice to interpret whether they constitute a crime. And, according to Barr’s criteria, and his number two, Rod Rosenstein, the evidence “is not enough to establish that the president has committed a lack of obstruction of justice.” His argument is that Trump was not guilty of the crime that it was investigated and that a bad practice does not have to be obstructed if it is not done intentionally.
The day was a resounding victory for the president. “After a long review, after a long investigation, after so many people have been so damaged, after not looking at the other side where many bad things happened, it was just announced that there was no plot with Russia,” proclaimed the President to the press from Florida, where he had spent the weekend, about to take his flight back to the White House. “It’s a pity that our country has had to go through this, to be honest, it’s a pity that its president has had to go through this,” he added.
For Democrats, however, the story of the Mueller report does not end here. From the investigation of the special prosecutor and his team, a hermetic work, full of secrecy, only the four pages of the Attorney General’s letter are known. Several congressmen have already advanced that they will give the battle so that the set of the report comes to the light, in the same way, that in 1998, the report Starr on Bill Clinton was spread. The document may contain politically corrosive material, all kinds of bad arts, even if it does not include collision.
As a result of the investigations, for example, the New York prosecutor’s office has also implicated the president in a crime of illegal campaign financing, since whoever was Trump’s personal lawyer for years, Michael Cohen, assures that he ordered payment to two women shortly before the elections to shut up about alleged infidelities with him. Since the purpose of the transaction was to protect the image of the then-presidential candidate, it is considered an undeclared contribution.
That the supposed romances with a porn film actress, Stormy Daniels, and with a Playboy model, Karen McDougal, are part of the investigation of the Russian plot gives an idea of how the case has been twisted, the unpredictable derivatives to which It has given place.
Six Trump ex-advisers have been accused of various crimes, including lawyer Michel Cohen, who was Trump’s right-hand man for a decade, to three years in prison for fraud and for lying; and his former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, to seven and a half years for fraud and conspiracy, following an undeclared lobbying work for Ukraine.
Suspicions that Russia was trying to interfere in the presidential elections began already in summer, with the theft and leakage of Democratic Party mails. After the elections, at the beginning of January 2017, the US intelligence services and the FBI concluded that Vladimir Putin had orchestrated a campaign based on cyber attacks and propaganda to denigrate the candidacy of Hillary Clinton and favor Trump’s candidacy.
The shadow of collusion between the then president and Moscow appeared on the scene when they began to come to light a series of opaque contacts between those who were to form his cabinet and Russian officials, which led to the resignation of his fleeting Security Adviser National, Michael Flynn.
Trump’s attempts to discredit the investigation, which he always accused of “witch hunts,” and the dismissal of Comey in May 2017 further encouraged misgivings. Shortly thereafter, in the summer, there were also some controversial encounters, such as the one that the president’s eldest son, Donald Júnior, and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, kept before the elections with a woman who said she was close to the Kremlin and that promised “dirty laundry” about Clinton.
Almost two years after the rash of dirty rags everywhere, the investigation of the Mueller report has come to an end. The resulting political battle, between supporters and detractors of Trump, has only just begun.