The Barr Letter Might Exonerate Trump, But We Know the Mueller Report Doesn’t

I am not now, nor have I in the past, nor will I in the future, speculate on what Robert Mueller’s report says in it. I will react to what we know, for a fact, is in it, and I wish that everyone else in the world follow suit. And it’s because of that fact — I won’t and don’t speculate on what Mueller’s report actually lays out — that I can say without any doubt in my mind that it does not exonerate the president.

Which makes this tweet (and the others from his sycophantic team of lapdogs and morons in the conservative mainstream press) nothing more than hot air.

All we truly know about the Mueller report comes from Attorney General William Barr’s letter summarizing it. Barr is, unequivocally, in the bag for Trump, and his op-eds about how little respect he had for the Mueller probe in the first place are all we need to know that. Still, at this point I have no reason to doubt that when Barr quotes the Mueller report directly he’s quoting it accurately. If we find out later he lied about what the report says, that won’t look good for him. That doesn’t mean he didn’t cherry pick from the report to put out the best positive spin for his boss, though, and if I were a betting man, that’s where I’d lay my wager in this case — carefully crafted spin.

But because Barr decided to quote the letter directly, we know, for a fact, that the Mueller report does not exonerate Trump. The direct quote from the report that Barr himself used directly stated that it wasn’t making a call on obstruction of justice. Now, you and I might also notice that instead of the theme being “no collusion,” that it appears more a case of Mueller not being able to find enough evidence that warranted meeting the very narrow legal definition of collusion, but collusion was never the point to most of us.

Collusion is one piece of the diarrhea pie that is Trump’s presidency. There’s the cozying up to dictators. There’s the white nationalist equivocation. There’s the unending golf trips. The unpresidential, spastic, angry tirades on Twitter. The demanding of security clearance for his daughter and son-in-law. The list goes on and on and on. Trump supporters who think the collusion investigation was the only pathway to exposing how criminally unfit for office Trump is, are only doubling-down on the delusion they needed to believe that a D-list reality TV white collar criminal and tax dodger would be a good president.

Again, to be clear, I do not know what is in the Mueller report other than what Barr told me, and well, Barr told me that Mueller himself didn’t draw the conclusion of Trump’s exoneration. Barr did.

The Special Counsel states that “while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.” – Attorney General William Barr

The fact Barr wants us to believe that he’s made the right call without showing us the evidence he used to make the call, after he wrote a bizarre 19-page memo justifying putting the president above the law, is laughable to me. Sure, maybe it should be tragedy bad enough to make me want to die, but it’s just kind of hilarious to me. We aren’t being shown the report, we’re being asked to believe a book review without getting to read it ourselves, and we’re supposed to be believe Barr’s telling of the story instead of the author’s?

Puh-leeze. Of course something stinks about this. The investigation took over two years and produced a report that is hundreds of pages long. Barr wants us to trust that in less than three days he was able to digest the report’s contents and come to the conclusion that Mueller himself specifically said he couldn’t and wouldn’t draw?

It’s easy to see why Rep. Jerry Nadler, Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, tweeted this, isn’t it?

Elections have consequences. We’ve been sidled with a self-evidently corrupt kleptocracy since January of 2017 because the Democrats lost in 2016. It’s not the time to litigate why that happened, and the reality is that the Democrats’ retaking of the House last year was just as momentous and important. The consequences of the 2016 mid-terms is that the Democrats can subpoena documents, reports, and even the Special Council and Attorney General specifically.

If TrumpLandia thinks William Barr’s hastily crafted, highly-dubious letter absolves Dear President, they need a refresher course in American Civics because congressional oversight is a hell of a drug, and Mueller mainlined some truly great dope into their veins when he decided not to exonerate Trump himself. Rational Americans will wait until the full Mueller report is released before they assume this chapter is closed. The delivery of Mueller’s report wasn’t the end of this story, not by a long shot.

Maybe the Barr Letter exonerates Trump. That’s fine. He finally got “his” AG who will be his defender. We know for a damn fact, though, that Mueller didn’t exonerate Trump. And we know that fact because Trump’s AG told us so. The Barr Letter is a political document; the Mueller Report is not, and therein lies the crucial difference that will make a lot of Trump supporters’ heads spin like tops when and if the facts it contains are publicly digested.


Writer/comedian James Schlarmann is the founder of The Political Garbage Chute and his work has been featured on The Huffington Post. You can follow James on Facebook and Instagram, but not Twitter because he has a potty mouth.

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