Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s final report of his Russia investigation may be out — but Americans still have to deal with it. Looking ahead to the 2020 presidential elections in just about one and a half years, former Labor Secretary turned prominent activist Robert Reich suggests a key takeaway from the document that should be shared far and wide — Donald Trump is “morally bankrupt.” It’s true, while Republicans have suggested that the key standard is whether or not Trump has done something criminally prosecutable, the sitting president has barely even adhered to that, let alone the one of higher moral fortitude that most would hope for in a president of the United States.
‘[Mueller] provides a devastating indictment of Trump’s character… Legal debates about obstruction of justice are fine. But no voter in 2020 should be allowed to overlook this basic reality: Donald Trump is a morally despicable human being.’
The Mueller report lays out key, disturbing points supporting this notion. As Reich summarizes it, the document describes the president as a “chronic liar” who “treats his subordinates horribly” and an “unprincipled thug.” Numerous points of reporting on the Russia scandal that Trump has fiercely contested in the public sphere have turned out to be true. For instance, he really did try and get then-FBI Director James Comey to ease up in his agency’s investigation of the foreign ties of his former associate Michael Flynn, who eventually pleaded guilty to lying to authorities.
He also lied about other attempts at obstruction of justice, like his effort to get former White House counsel Don McGahn to get Mueller out — which he’s been enraged that the lawyer shared with investigators. Behind the scenes when he was still on the job, Trump reportedly raged at him that he shouldn’t have taken notes, although McGahn countered that a “real lawyer” does exactly that. More recently, after a redacted version of the Mueller report dropped, the president whined that it contained supposed “fabricated & totally untrue” statements based on notes that “never existed until needed.”
Reich notes that behind this mess, there’s a pattern — when someone stands their ground against Trump’s belligerence and antagonism of basic legal precedent, they end up kicked out of the administration. McGahn is gone. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who Trump sought to have steer the Russia probe in his favor, is out. Even Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen is out after she refused to implement unrelated Trump-ian policy directives like the detainment and separation of all asylum seeking families.
Going forward, House Democrats continue to debate the implications of these actions. Trump does not have a clean slate, no matter his false claims to the contrary — Mueller simply concluded the best venue to act on Trump’s obstruction of justice would be Congress, not him.
A growing number of Democrats have begun pushing for impeachment, even acknowledging that it wouldn’t get anywhere in the Republican-controlled Senate. Some have painted the action as their civic duty all the same in light of Trump’s willful flaunting of the legal standards associated with his office.
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