It is an eerie feeling to sit in front of my television and watch discussion of the Mueller report.
None of them seems to understand what the Founders had in mind when they talked about “separation of powers.” None seems to know that the American republic was conceived to mimic the British system, which is fluid, organic, and very little constrained by codes that anticipate future confrontations between the three branches of government.
Liberals were incensed about the revelations of the redacted report, and none-too-happy with the pronouncements of Attorney General Robert Barr, which seemed to exonerate President Trump from wrongdoing. Conservatives looked relieved by the first half of the report and puzzled by the second half. They had never believed in any notion of collusion by the president with what was, until recently, a communist system; now that finding was cast in stone. So why did anyone think there could have been a cover-up of a crime that didn’t happen?
Trump critics found plenty of material to seize upon when arguing the report showed a president doing his best to impede the search for truth.
Were those efforts to impede equivalent to the “high crimes and misdemeanors” mentioned in the constitution? And were the people not entitled to see everything that had been found in an investigation that cost taxpayers an estimated $30 million?
Congress has unlimited power to investigate. It can subpoena and read any part of the Mueller report it wants; and as a body, can disseminate any portion it wants.
A sitting president cannot be charged in a court of law by a prosecutor for obstructing justice. That is an inherent power of the executive.
But a president can be impeached by Congress. The Senate, sitting as a quasi-judicial body, can deem Trump’s actions in this case to be “high crimes and misdemeanors.”
It’s a different question whether taking that course of action would be wise for Democrats. The nation is pretty much fed up with the Mueller investigation.
The damage to the republic done by the whole episode is palpable and troubling.