Cappel: Key takeaways from the Mueller Report

Robert Mueller released his 400-page report after the public spent two long years waiting, but what does it actually mean for Trump going forward?

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Cappel: Key takeaways from the Mueller Report

(Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS)

(Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS)

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(Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS)

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(Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS)

Alex Cappel, Opinions Columnist

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A redacted version of the Mueller Report was released to the public last week, and the media have been trying to break down each page. The report looks specifically at whether the Trump campaign conspired with Russia and if Trump committed obstruction of justice. The answers can be found in the report, but Mueller did a poor job making these answers clear.

The biggest question from this report is, “Did President Trump conspire with Russian agents to influence the 2016 election?” It is well-known that Russia tried to interfere in the election to try to cause havoc in our democracy, but just because its attacks were against the Democrats doesn’t mean that Trump is at fault. After two years of in-depth research, 500 interviews, and almost 3,000 subpoenas, Mueller was unable to find any link between Trump’s campaign and the Russian government. He says that clearly on the second page of the report: “The investigation did not establish that members of the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.” He doesn’t deny that Trump benefited from the Russian interference, and Trump wouldn’t, either. All he is saying is that Trump did nothing illegal.

I see a lot of parallels with the confirmation of Justice Brett Kavanaugh, in which he was accused of something and had to prove that he didn’t do it. That’s almost impossible to do, and it’s not how the U.S. justice system works. It seems that Mueller has forgotten about the whole “innocent until proven guilty” thing.

RELATED: Column: Everyone needs to believe Robert Mueller

Because even Democrats can see that Trump didn’t conspire with the Russian government, they are grasping at straws to see how they can count the Mueller Report as a win for them. I can’t blame them, because I’d like to see more than a report that doesn’t do anything come from a $30 million investigation. They are trying to prove that Trump attempted to obstruct justice in how he handled himself during the investigation. The biggest problem with that, however, is that to charge Trump with obstruction of justice, you would have to prove intent along with it. Seeing as there was no conspiracy with Russia, Trump was right in saying the investigation was a witch hunt and wanting it shut down. No charge of obstruction can be brought because there was nothing to hide.

Seeing as there was no conspiracy with Russia, Trump was right in saying the investigation was a witch hunt and wanting it shut down. No charge of obstruction can be brought because there was nothing to hide.”

Impeachment is a different story. Because it’s entirely political, you don’t actually need a criminal charge to do it. Trump wasn’t blameless through this process, and I’m definitely not going to act like he didn’t make lots of bad decisions during the investigation. He told his team to lie to the press, he tried to fire a number of people in the Justice Department, and he refused to sit down for an interview. It’s not a great look for someone trying to say he’s innocent, but there’s no crime committed. If Congress thinks that he has done something criminal, it will impeach him. Spoiler alert: It won’t.

So what are the key takeaways from the report? There’s no proof Trump conspired with Russia. There’s nothing Trump did that would actually fall under obstruction of justice. Everyone needs to just move on to the next election. Republicans can’t gloat because there are probably a dozen declared Democrats who could beat Trump in a general election. Democrats need to stop talking about the Mueller Report and start rallying behind a candidate to take Trump down. Let’s just all agree to put Mueller behind us and stop getting upset at every small thing Trump does.

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