I was starting to write this column about the Mueller report being submitted to the Attorney General. At the time, I only knew there were no further indictments recommended in an investigation that churned out roughly a billion of them, scored numerous convictions and spawned even more investigations. I didn’t think we’d hear about what was in it until everyone had a chance to pore over the details. I should’ve known better. I was about 500 words in when I had to scrap the whole thing. Considering how lazy I am, that really hurts, you know?
So, yes, according to Attorney General William Barr’s summary, the special counsel found no evidence of coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia. It then fell short of exonerating the president on suspicions of obstruction of justice, but mentioned there was evidence on both sides of the argument. However, the Department of Justice says there’s not enough evidence to pursue the matter further.
“In cataloguing the President’s actions, many of which took place in public view, the report identifies no actions that, in our judgment, constitute obstructive conduct, had a nexus to a pending or contemplated proceeding, and were done with corrupt intent, each of which, under the Department’s principles of federal prosecution guiding charging decisions, would need to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt to establish an obstruction-of-justice offense,” Barr wrote in his letter to Congress.
In response, President Trump tweeted the word “exonerated” in all caps (along with some other words), so I suppose that’s the end of that. I mean, there’ll be squabbling of course. The Democrat-controlled House will surely want Barr to explain himself under oath. Representative Jerry Nadler, chair of the House Judiciary Committee, already tweeted that he intends to call Barr to testify (because Twitter is where 90 percent of governing happens now). There will also be some legal wrestling matches as to how much of the report is made available to the public, if any of it is at all. But if you were hoping for some sort of incendiary “gotcha” moment, it doesn’t look like you’re gonna get it.
What really bothers me is that I had this whole column thing mapped out, but this letter coming out on a fucking Sunday really ruined everything. Usually, it’s safe for me to write this thing on a Sunday, because it’s the only day when nothing ever happens. It’s difficult enough trying to come up with something that’s going to stay relevant for a couple of weeks without major news events happening on a fucking Sunday. I mean, shit. No one even works at the White House anymore on any kind of permanent basis. Everyone’s an acting something or other … But here’s Barr, somehow the only dude hard at work on the Lord’s Day, who wasn’t only able to digest this report that was 22 months in the making, but also able to consult with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, come up with some conclusions that will be debated over in the weeks to come and then write a four-page letter to Congress … on a fucking Sunday! I realize the preceding sentences may sound like I’m of the opinion that Barr didn’t give the report the due diligence it deserved. Honestly, I have no reason to believe he didn’t. I’m just impressed that he was able to get pants on and do all this shit when I’m over here riding the struggle bus trying to bust out 800 words. I guess that’s why he’s the U.S. Attorney General, and I’m, well … not.
It sucks, too, because I was painstakingly likening what was going on in the news to a D&D campaign. I had something like, “we’re in the lair of the 24-hour Cable News Network Pundit Hydra and the path behind us is barred by an army of Internet Trolls.” Now it’s rendered useless.
I was going to go on a tangent, too, about how I’ve spent the majority of my life in a fantasy world. Superheroes, Star Wars, Magic: The Gathering, D&D … whatever. I like all that stuff, still. It doesn’t define my life as much as it used to, maybe, but it’s not like my fantasy world is as dangerous as other people’s. I found this story where Mike Pompeo, who’s our Secretary of Something or Other Yet Surprisingly Not in an Acting Capacity, likened Donald Trump to Queen Esther, who’s in the Bible, I guess? Anyway, she was the Jewish queen of a Persian king and … whatever. It’s not important. Basically, Pompeo said that it was “possible” that, like Esther, God chose Trump to protect Israel from Iran. Elsewhere, Trump has been called the new King Cyrus, another dude from the Old Testament who God chose to do something for some reason or another, even though Cyrus was a total dick.
I went into more about it, but it seems pointless now. You’ll just have to trust me. I was really stoked on it.
**This piece first appeared in print on page 30 of issue #288 (March 27 – April 20, 2019)**