While I was flying home from Israel yesterday, US Attorney General William Barr released his summary of Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller’s two-year-long investigation into President Trump and his aides.
The summary addressed the question America has been asking for the last 676 days: Did the president, or anyone working for him, conspire with Russia to influence the 2016 election in his favor? Further, did he or those working on his behalf attempt to obstruct federal investigations into this matter?
The significance of the Mueller report is enormous. If the special counsel determined that such collusion or obstruction took place, the ramifications for our democracy would be foundational and tragic.
WHAT THE REPORT TELLS US
Mr. Mueller’s report was presented to the US attorney general, who in turn issued his summary. He noted that the special counsel employed nineteen lawyers who were assisted by approximately forty FBI agents, intelligence analysts, forensic accountants, and other professional staff. The special counsel issued more than 2,800 subpoenas, executed nearly five hundred search warrants, and interviewed approximately five hundred witnesses.
The special counsel’s investigation determined that a Russian organization known as the Internet Research Agency attempted to conduct disinformation and social media operations in the US “with the aim of interfering with the election.”
It also found that “Russian government actors successfully hacked into computers and obtained emails from persons affiliated with the Clinton campaign and Democratic Party organizations, and publicly disseminated those materials through various intermediaries.”
However, Mr. Mueller “did not find that the Trump campaign, or anyone associated with it, conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in these efforts, despite multiple offers from Russian-affiliated individuals to assist the Trump campaign.”
With regard to obstructing the investigation, the special counsel “did not draw a conclusion—one way or the other—as to whether the examined conduct constituted obstruction.” Instead, Mr. Mueller sets out evidence on both sides of the question and states that “while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.”
This decision “leaves it to the Attorney General to determine whether the conduct described in the report constitutes a crime.” Attorney General Barr, in consultation with other officials, determined that “the evidence developed during the Special Counsel’s investigation is not sufficient to establish that the President committed an obstruction-of-justice offense.”
A THREAT THAT SHOULD CONCERN EVERY AMERICAN
The essence of fallen human nature is the enthronement of self. It is seeking what is best for me at the expense of what is best for you.
Russian actors obviously felt it was in their personal and/or national best interests to interfere in our democratic process. Last year, the Mueller investigation charged twenty-five Russian intelligence operatives and social media manipulation experts. The final report makes clear their intent to influence the 2016 election.
This is a threat that should concern every American. Our right and ability to elect our leaders is foundational to our democracy. If foreign countries and actors can influence our votes and elections, our democracy is imperiled.
Closer to home, the responses we are seeing to Mr. Barr’s report are predictably partisan.
Republican leaders are claiming total vindication for the president. Congressional Democrats are calling for the attorney general to turn over all files related to the investigation; a co-founder of a Democratic support organization wrote on Twitter that Mr. Barr’s summary “is pure propaganda.”
It is unlikely that the Mueller report will change many minds. As the New York Times notes, “Opinions have hardened over time, with many Americans already convinced they knew the answers before Mr. Mueller submitted his conclusions.”
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Source: Christian Headlines