Robert Mueller is trying to handle this like a pro. He is conspicuously understated and remarkably measured in his presentation, given the tectonic portent of his report. Nonetheless, in substance his statement yesterday could not have been more unequivocal. This is not a "punt" to Congress, it's a hand delivery. With emphasis.
The problem and the paradox for Pelosi and Democratic House leadership is that either everything they and their media oracles have been saying for three years is a complete joke or they are duty-bound to proceed with impeachment.
What Special Counsel Robert Mueller said loud and clear yesterday was, in substance: It ain't no joke. More specifically, he said, "I will close by reiterating the central allegation of our indictments that there were multiple, systematic efforts to interfere in our election. That allegation deserves the attention of every American."
What is the difference between the Democrats and the Republicans?
The line from Congressional Democrats for the last two years is that the Republicans cared more about holding onto power than acting to protect the country. "Politics over country." Now the Democrats have power, and they are the ones who will not act for the very same politically-based reasons.
The danger of inaction on the part of the Democrats in light of the clear and present danger articulated both in the Mueller report and in his supplementary statement yesterday is twofold.
On a national security level, the country has been notified that a threat exists and that something needs to be done. Inaction leaves the vulnerability open and the country at risk. On a political level, inaction looks cowardly, under the circumstances, and given the political calculations the Democrats are clearly making, duplicitous.
It should be noted that Congress is not really set up to play cops and robbers. The Constitution provides the framework for Congress to investigate, prosecute, and impeach along with the capacity to subpoena and enforce those subpoenas if necessary. But no one down at the Capitol Building is particularly accustomed to directly confronting serious criminal activity, especially as it would pertain to the president. Normally that's left to the Justice Department, which does that sort of thing on a rather routine basis.
The Republicans did absolutely impeach Bill Clinton for lying about his tryst with a White House intern. The difference was that the Clinton impeachment was pure political theater, as was the underlying investigation by Special Prosecutor Ken Starr.
The investigation into Russian election interference is, on the other hand, arguably the most serious investigation ever launched into a presidential administration. That makes it more complicated for Congress, not less. This one actually has material ramifications, and vast ones.
The Democrats, along with the US law enforcement and intelligence communities, sounded an alarm, loudly and with urgency. The special counsel's investigation has confirmed their warnings. The facts are voluminously on the table for all to see. Further investigation would be unnecessary, redundant and amounts to nothing more than political cover for the Democrats. Inaction now would unavoidably be viewed as cowardice in the face of a national security threat.
That's no way to win an election.
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