President Donald Trump’s victory lap over special counsel Robert Mueller’s report is standing in stark contrast to Democrats who are starting, albeit tentatively, to line up to demand impeachment.
Impeachment is a political concern as opposed to a strictly legal one, so the findings of the Mueller report on a lack of “Russia collusion” or its 10 instances of possible obstruction — using a very expansive definition of the legal concept — isn’t really important.
(It’s a legal concept disavowed by Attorney General William Barr, it must be noted — although given Barr’s reputation among Democrats at present, that’s not going to have much sway).
What it really depends is whether or not the Democrats have the political will to turn the report into something, no matter what the report says.
As Trump tried to point out via a video Saturday, however, the Mueller investigation has already been costly to the government and the American people — and the numbers are damning.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 20, 2019
As for the cost of the report, Business Insider reported last month that the final bill could exceed $35 million once expense reports are turned in.
One argument is that the Mueller investigation may have paid for itself. Former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort turned over $42 million in assets as the result of his plea deal, leading proponents to claim that it could actually make a profit, at least according to CNBC.
Of course, that would assume the fact that Manafort’s crimes wouldn’t have come to light in a different context and resulted in a similar forfeiture. That’s a hypothetical, but certainly not an implausible one, given the nature of the case.
And then there’s the fact that the Department of Justice official told CNBC that the money seized wouldn’t go directly to funding Mueller’s investigation, so it really depends on how you want to count its disbursement.
As for the “18 Angry Democrats,” this refers to the members of Mueller’s investigating team. This is slightly off. Fox News noted in May 2018 that 13 of the 17 attorneys not named Robert Mueller were Dems and nine have donated to Democrats or Democrat causes.
As for Mueller himself, the Fox News report also noted he “is said to be a life-long Republican and served as FBI director under former Republican President George W. Bush.” Where he stands now is anyone’s guess.
And then there were the subpoenas, the witnesses, the time it took, the fact that it produced two years of political dysfunction and wild Russia conspiracy theories. (Remember Cohen in Prague?)
What was the end result? As Trump (or his social media team) put it: “0 collusion, 0 obstruction.”
Liberals are going to seize on the final one, given that obstruction of justice has become the last bastion of hope for them. While Democratic leadership still seems unwilling to sign onto the idea of impeachment, there are plenty of calls for it from Democrats — although usually not among the party’s top ranks.
There will be hearings to come, mind you, in the Democratic-run House of Representatives. Scads of investigations. Another round of feverishly inspired hope among the media that this time Trump’s really going to be impeached and then the fun can begin.
When it comes to attacking Trump, Democrats clearly don’t care about the cost to the American people.
I don’t exactly have precognition in the matter, but I’d be willing to venture that this ends up like the first round did. And, if the price tag is the same, or anywhere close, we should all be infuriated.
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