Brooding Hamlet’s “To be or not to be” has become, for U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi “To impeach or not to impeach.” That is the question, the big question.
Pelosi is taking her time, but the pressure is on, especially after Robert Mueller’s televised speech May 29. Tip-toeing through his guarded words, Mueller reiterated his report does not exonerate President Trump, despite Attorney General William Barr’s pro-Trump spin of the investigation’s findings.
Mueller said the Department of Justice cannot legally indict a sitting President, thus he presented in his report only findings of fact, not judgments. Then Mueller strongly suggested the U.S. Congress can, if it so chooses, deal with the question of presidential wrong-doing. That was regarded by many as a nudge-nudge from Mueller to begin an impeachment process.
Pelosi’s strategy is to investigate via Congressional oversight committees and that impeachment should not even be mentioned unless solid evidence is gathered and only when the majority of Americans come to understand the import of that evidence. She is right.
It’s ironic the most persuasive advocate for impeaching Trump is a Republican, Michigan Rep. Justin Amash. As so many people haven’t, he has read and pondered the 448-page Mueller Report. His case for impeachment has placed an urgency and even embarrassment on House Democrats, including the hesitant Pelosi.
It’s a shame more Americans do not read that report because just about anybody who does would almost certainly be convinced crimes were committed, that the President did indeed try in at least 10 ways to obstruct justice, to impede or terminate Mueller’s work.
But it’s understandable why so few are reading it. Most Americans are mentally exhausted from trying to keep up with the byzantine twists and turns of that long investigation. Their reaction is to shrug it all off, just not to care, crime or no crime. And, too, the report is a bit daunting. Comprised of tiny print, it’s as long and complex as a gloomy Russian novel by Dostoevsky. Still, it’s quite the page-turner, a real stunner.
What’s flabbergasting about Volume I of the report is Trump and his campaign staff were cleared of “collusion” in Russian meddling. Collusion is apparently not a criminal act, but conspiracy is, and Mueller found they were not guilty of conspiring to subvert the presidential election. However, “collusion” versus “conspiracy” begs the question. What should we call it when so many associated with that campaign were meeting with Russians and then lying constantly about it, including campaign manager Paul Manafort and former Sen. Jeff Sessions, to name just two. Why did Trump and son Don Jr. concoct cover stories about the Trump Tower meeting with a Russian lawyer? And if all of them were so not guilty, why were they so fearful of Mueller’s investigation and why did Trump try to suppress it so often, as detailed in Part II of the report? And how can one explain the 34 indictments and many convictions that resulted from the “witch hunt” if not for rampant chicanery and corruption?
No, Trump did not sit down and sign an agreement with Russians to sabotage the election. However, Volume I details an appalling willingness by Trump and staff to just “go along” with Russian meddling and then later to deny repeatedly it ever happened. It’s the kind of wink-and-nod nonchalance perfected by Tweeter-in-Chief.
Trump’s crowing about total exoneration by Mueller is just one more of his lies yelled at full throttle. His twitchy bravado is like a kid whistling past a graveyard in the dead of night.
All Americans should, as a patriotic duty, take time to read the full report. Read it, discuss it and pay attention because our Democracy is under a growing threat from abroad and, yes, from right here at home – everything from social-media smears to gerrymandering, from big-bucks propaganda to multiple forms of voter suppression.
We keep hearing, “No one, not even the President, is above the law.” Or, as Bob Dylan sang in a 1964 song, “Even the President of the United States must sometimes have to stand naked.”
Author: Dennis Dalman
Dalman was born and raised in South St. Cloud, graduated from St. Cloud Tech High School, then graduated from St. Cloud State University with a degree in English (emphasis on American and British literature) and mass communications (emphasis on print journalism). He studied in London, England for a year (1980-81) where he concentrated on British literature, political science, the history of Great Britain and wrote a book-length study of the British writer V.S. Naipaul. Dalman has been a reporter and weekly columnist for more than 30 years and worked for 16 of those years for the Alexandria Echo Press.