So, we have the Mueller report. Rather, we have most of the Muller report. Some days ahead, we will have it all. No redactions. No phony accompanying “gas lighting” from an attorney general who’s failed his constitutional responsibilities and become a political whore for a failed - and likely doomed - president.
Strong words? Yes. Strong feelings? Yes.
But, there is a particular portion that scares the hell out of me. Just one section but its implications go far, far beyond the report.
Trump - who doesn’t know the legal difference between obstruction and collusion - has claimed “vindication” because he was “cleared” of obstruction. No, he wasn’t. The largest contributing proofs of that are the reasons I’m frightened.
The following is taken directly from the Muller report, courtesy of CNN:
Mueller: OBSTRUCTION BY TRUMP FAILED BECAUSE OTHERS REFUSED TO “CARRY OUT ORDERS.”
"The President's efforts to influence the investigation were mostly unsuccessful, but that is largely because the persons who surrounded the President declined to carry out orders or accede to his requests."
"(James) Comey did not end the investigation of (Michael) Flynn, which ultimately resulted in Flynn's prosecution and conviction for lying to the FBI. (Don) McGahn did not tell the Acting Attorney General that the special counsel must be removed, but was instead prepared to resign over the President's order.
(Corey) Lewandowski and Dearborn did not deliver the President 's message to (Jeff) Sessions that he should confine the Russia investigation to future election meddling only. And McGahn refused to recede from his recollections about events surrounding the President's direction to have the special counsel removed, despite the President's multiple demands that he do so. Consistent with that pattern, the evidence we obtained would not support potential obstruction charges against the President's aides and associates beyond those already filed," the report said.
Permit me to translate all that. Trump TRIED to obstruct justice but his staff refused to follow his direct orders. Simple as that. Scary as that.
Take Trump out of the equation for a moment. Think only of the Office of the President of the United States.
I’m reminded of a line from the Spielberg movie “Lincoln” when an angry Abe pounded the table and railed “The is the office of the President - clothed in immense power!”
That’s an absolute fact. And it can be personally overwhelming when you stand silently in an empty Oval Office, listening to your own heart beat. The very real sense of authority - read “power” - is as authentic as the furniture.
That authority comes directly from the Constitution and is both specific and overarching. Whoever sits behind that desk is “clothed in immense power” and decisions and orders emanating from that spot are expected to be followed. Most often, previous occupants have made decisions or issued orders only after consultations with staff and discussions with experts in their fields to assure all relevant facts have been examined to assure accuracy.
Now, put Trump back in the picture. Like him or hate him, he’s also “clothed” in that power - that authority. His decisions - his orders - are issued with the same constitutional backing as his predecessors. Even if they don’t have the same group thinking.
BUT - many of his staff and advisors - those who know him best - have been given their orders from Trump and, without telling him, have refused to carry out ones they disagreed with. They’ve disobeyed and secreted their decision to do so,
I’ve written before about instances of such real resistance to Trump in activities of the military. Clear cases of finding ways to not do as ordered - no military parade, unarmed rather than armed soldiers at our southern border, Pentagon refusing to allow immigrants arrest powers, etc.. Again, a constitutionally authorized portion of our national government finding ways to block presidential authority.
Now, we know such resistance is occurring in the White House.
Given world conditions today - given Trump’s legal authority to unwisely conduct negotiations of a nuclear treaty with North Korea - given the failure of Congress to perform its duties as a co-equal branch of government - given Trump’s mercurial nature in his conduct of our national affairs - given even our military leaders thwarting some of his orders - given his serial lying - we should be afraid.
And, now, Robert Muller’s report contains specific examples of staff closest to Trump deciding, on their own, which orders they’ll obey, putting verbal gasoline on an already smouldering situation.
The pervasive thought, that people we’ve never heard of, elected to no leadership roles, people surrounding the President of the United States, individuals at the highest levels of our nation are often secretly ignoring legally-issued orders based on their own thinking - all that is quietly terrifying to me.
If that doesn’t kick-start a sleeping congress - especially Republicans - to perform their co-equal branch responsibilities, we’re in greater trouble than we know.