By John Young
It wasn’t “meddling.” It wasn’t “interference.” It was “an attack” on our democracy: Robert Mueller.
It wasn’t one “400-pound guy” on a couch: Donald Trump. It wasn’t “a couple of Facebook ads”: Jared Kushner.
It was a systematic operation by a foreign government that helped Trump become our president.
Mueller has no doubt about what Russia did, and he left none when finally speaking about it.
Trump’s role in all this? Not simply to throw shade. Not simply to deflect. Not simply to spew reality-show bombast. No, his role was and is to obstruct. That’s a crime.
How different this is to hear in Mueller’s gravel, not Bill Barr’s Rudy Vallee falsetto.
As Mueller implied when no one could parse his words for him — sorry, Fox News; sorry, water-carrier Lindsey Graham — the crime of obstruction is very much on the table for Congress to probe.
Republicans know Trump did everything in his power to stop the investigation. He fired the FBI director. He pressured people to not cooperate. He lied over and over about numerous contacts with Russians, especially one in his very own high-rise in a meeting convened by his son.
No collusion? Mueller only says that there was “insufficient evidence” to say one way or the other. That doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.
The first act of clear collusion was Michael Flynn’s offer to ease sanctions. Trump’s effort to block the investigation of Flynn — by firing FBI director James Comey — was what begat the Mueller probe in the first place.
By the way, anyone who assumes Trump did not know what his national security adviser-to-be was doing is gullible enough to . . . to believe anything else our liar-in-chief says.
So Don Jr. and other key campaign officials met with a Russian contingent in Trump Tower — mere elevator dings below Mr. Big. And he didn’t know about it? And he didn’t poke his head in the room to talk, um, adoption? (If that wasn’t the reason for the meeting, why concoct an alibi, Mr. B?)
Then there are the questions about the info-dump by Wikileaks of criminally obtained e-mails at the same time that Trump was saying, “Russia, if you’re listening . . .”
Put all that aside for a moment, as Team Trump wants us to, but which Democrats in Congress should not.
If Trump is not in cahoots with his godfather in the Kremlin, when is he going to do something about the crime that Mueller, several grand juries and our intelligence agencies ascribe to Russia?
On several occasions, he’s said that President Obama should have done more about these matters. What has he done considering what we know, what he knows?
One thing Mueller’s comments should put to bed is the portrayal of the investigation in sinister tones — “spying,” “Deep State” machinations. No, this was about a crime involving a foreign adversary. This is the crime of the century. Any surveillance was legal and justified.
So, too, with the right’s denunciation of “fake news” to discredit what probing media reported. As more than one analysis has pointed out, the Mueller report essentially affirmed the heroic efforts of the Washington press and all those seeking truth about this deceitful president.
That takes us back to the crime of obstruction. We didn’t need Mueller to tell us what we have seen with our own eyes. This president has done his utmost to undermine the probe.
“When a subject of an investigation obstructs that investigation or lies to investigators, it strikes at their government’s effort to find the truth and hold wrongdoers accountable”: Robert Mueller.
If no collusion, no need for obstruction, and no need for Mueller to use his own inflection to tell Congress: I did my job. Do yours.
Longtime newspaperman John Young lives in Colorado. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.