Don’t forget what we already know

Really like this Greg Sargent take on the Mueller report:

Savvy reporters are telling us the attorney general’s report to Congress on Mueller’s findings will disclose disappointingly little.

So let’s reconnect ourselves with two very fundamental realities that this whole affair has already brought to light:

  1. It has already been established that Trump himself committed very serious and extensive misconduct, and possibly crimes as well, and it has already been confirmed that multiple top Trump associates committed extensive wrongdoing and numerous crimes. Trump repeatedly lied to the American people about this misconduct.
  2. It has already been established that a foreign power engaged in a wide-ranging effort to corrupt our democracy for the purpose of electing Trump president, and that Trump and his associates eagerly benefited from and actively tried to participate in this scheme. Trump lied to the American people about this, too. And he engaged in extensive efforts to prevent a full accounting of all of it from taking place…

Extensive wrongdoing has already been established

All this will be another reminder, from Trump’s former personal lawyer, of just how much wrongdoing — and possible criminality — has already been established.

“Cohen’s testimony will cause a national audience that may be accustomed to Trump’s behavior to confront the wide range of lies he has told to cover up misconduct,” Bob Bauer, the White House counsel under President Barack Obama, tells me, including “his denial he had anything to do with hush-money payments, that he had any business dealings with Russia during the campaign, that he has nothing to hide in his business or tax history.”…

As Brian Beutler observes, all of these things go to the core of “our understanding of how Trump came to power” and just how infused that was with criminality and deception, an understanding that is enormously important to arrive at but is “still developing.”

Yes, a limited disclosure of Mueller’s findings will be a setback. It will deny us information we need to better understand the full scope and range of misconduct on both the collusion and obstruction fronts. Democrats should and will try to rectify this.

But whatever is to be in that regard, we already know a great deal about what happened here. No amount of fake claims of vindication from a cramped Mueller disclosure can make all of that disappear.

About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State

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