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Trump, The Mueller Report, and Democracy

Trump, The Mueller Report, and Democracy

Jeffrey C. Isaac

[Note: this piece was filed on Sunday at 2 pm, revised after the release of Attorney General Barr’s letter at 4 pm, and refiled for publication at 6 pm. God only knows what will transpire in the interim.]

The issue has always been the need to defend democracy by addressing its weaknesses and limits, and to improve and deepen democracy by defending it from its enemies.

Robert Barr is, and always was, an agent of the reactionary wing of the Republican Party. He’s now trying to slow walk the full Mueller report, allowing Trump && Co. to dissemble for many months, possibly. Such a predictable outcome.
Then his obvious AG dissembling; a four page pile of legal half-truths released over the weekend, will just be another sordid chapter in the Annuls of Trumplandia.
The DOJ’s standing edict that a sitting POTUS cannot be indicted sure sounds very Nixonian. And, elevates Trump and Co. to a lofty perch in our hierarchy of Fearless Leaders who can skirt the rule of law by employing the old canard of " if the President does it ( whatever that is ) it is legal. " Such a deal, really.

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The whole Russiagate narrative championed by liberals especially arch propagandist Rachel Maddow proves nothing. Rather it proves what critics like Aaron Mate have been saying for 2 years: there’s no there there. It has been a distraction for the American people while Congress conducts an historic transfer of wealth to the US oligarchy. Massive giveaways to the super-rich in terms of the GOP “tax cut” (and another one coming) and two massive increases in military spending supported enthusiastically by the Democrats. (Here’s question for ya, if the Dems are concerned about fascism, why would they increase the fascist’s military budget? I’m not saying that Trump is not fascist threat, but why would you give his administration MORE resources?)

"On Friday, Special Counsel Robert Mueller concluded his nearly two-year-long investigation, finding no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government.

“[T]he investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities,” reads a section of the report excerpted by the Justice Department.

Allegations that Trump “colluded” with Russia have been at the center of the Democrats’ opposition to the Trump administration. Beginning with Paul Krugman’s declaration in a July 22, 2016, New York Times op-ed that Trump was a “Siberian Candidate,” the Times , Washington Post and other news media carried hundreds of articles supposedly proving that Trump won the election through a nefarious conspiracy with Vladimir Putin.

But Mueller, the former FBI director whose investigation spanned over 600 days, and who, according to the Justice Department, issued “2,800 subpoenas, executed nearly 500 search warrants, obtained more than 230 orders for communication records… and interviewed approximately 500 witnesses,” could find no evidence of these claims.

The outcome of the investigation is a debacle for the Democrats and their associated media outlets, leaving the fascist Trump in a stronger political position. [Emphasis mine]

The campaign surrounding allegations of Russian “meddling” has been used to legitimize internet censorship, leading to a massive search traffic decline to left-wing sites. It has also been used to demonize WikiLeaks and create the conditions for jailing whistleblower Chelsea Manning and escalating the persecution of Julian Assange.

At the same time, the Democrats have, on many fundamental issues, formed what amounts to a national unity government with Trump. They have rubber-stamped two massive annual increases to the US military budget, fully endorsing Trump’s plan to vastly expand the size of the US military in preparation for “great-power competition” with Russia and China.

In recent months, the Democrats have not only embraced Trump’s trade war against China but have criticized the White House for being insufficiently aggressive in the US campaign against Chinese telecommunications companies. And they have, almost without exception, backed Trump’s demand for regime change in Venezuela."


They key mistake Democrats have made is refusing to accept responsibility for Clinton’s epic loss in 2016 and instead trying to blame that loss on Bernie Bros or Russian interference (I laughed the first time I heard them say that) and subsequently putting all their hopes, dreams and aspirations about what to do with Trump on MUELLER. Instead of focusing on Trump’s various, public and documented crimes and transgressions that he engages in on a daily basis mind you, they just sat back, doing nothing, acting like the Mueller Report was going to the Mother of All Reports and the silver bullet that would put an end to him and vindicate HRC- all in one swoop. But that was never going to happen.

  1. Mueller is a Republican. What makes anyone think he was going to be any different than all the other Republicans who have been accomplices to Trump.s crimes? Why assume he will have integrity?

  2. Barr and Mueller are friends and those ties mean something. Just as the guy who investigated Kvanaugh used to be his pal back in the day

  3. Mueller’s investigation was focusing on a very narrow definition of collusion (ie. during the 2016 election). The man did not even review Trump’s finances which would undoubtedly have revealed his ties to the Russian mafia and the money laundering his org has been doing for Russian oligarchs etc. This is also where the obstruction of justice charge comes in: Trump never colluded during the election with Russia but he has been colluding with them and money laundering for them for decades. THAT was the real thing he was worried about Mueller discovering (which is why he fired Comey and Sessions and is nervous about his tax records etc). Lucky for him, Democrats with their misplaced priorities focused on and investigated the wrong thing. Why? Again, because they did not want to accept that HRC lost because she was a garbage candidate; a corporate hack who spent all her time talking to rich people and banksters.

This is what happens when you are the garbage party that doesn;t work for “the people” while at the same time putting all your eggs in one basket, so to speak, and hinge your entire case against a documented criminal on something that rests on very shaky grounds and which is being handled by corrupt criminals, to boot. Because make no mistake, Barr is Trump’s lackey. He was installed there for a reason and getting to the truth isn’t one of them. Same with Kavanaugh. They all got each others’ backs and cover up for each other. There was never going to be any justice found with these horrific people in charge of investigations and thus each other. That is what consolidating power means. Trump’s presidency has always been a slow moving coup. And Sarah Sanders just gave us a preview of how Trump will handle this by stating that those who accused Trump of being a foreign agent are traitors and that we “execute” people in this country for treason.

We are now seeing shades of Handmaid’s Tale Gilead where soon political opponents and members of the press who are perceived as criticizing den Fuehrer will be rounded up and tried for treason. This is only the beginning. The only this Mueller investigation did is empower Trump.


Yep. This is such a c*********k. Mueller leaves in place the notion -or fantasy - that the that the Russian government “meddled” (what an annoying and infantile word in this context) in 2016 to the degree that it cost HRC the election by indicting a few individuals who will never step in American soil much less the inside of an American courtroom, and assumes to be true the allegation that the Russians hacked the DNC and gave the emails to WikiLeaks. This paves the way for the coming bipartisan crucifiction of Julian Assange.


So tired of this Russia thing. What’s even more corrupt is the corruption behind running his shady businesses, not paying his taxes, and lying to the public every day. like breaking the emoluments clause.

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It’s about to get even more corrupt:

We are dealing with a radical plutocratic right wing going for broke. And if they do this, they ain’t going to treat Medicare-for-All any better, probably worse.

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Look, between the great society, the global crash, and people getting hand outs, irresponsible loan borrowers- people are angry- and they get angry at the wrong people- it’s like let’s stop the nonsense and tighten society but ah we’ll be corrupt for ourselves mentality.

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Yeah, I am fast also- it’s a crock of sh-t.

Well said. I’ve been seeking the most apt description. I feel totally c*********ked.

So am I and you pose an excellent question. Make that Barr is a super, corrupt, man!

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And an obese pig

Hopefully the confusion that Jeffrey Isaac and many others appear to be facing may be replaced by some recognition that the people whom he apparently trusted have lied to him grotesquely. or, in some cases, allowed themselves to be irresponsibly misled.

The issue of the “Russiagate” nonsense has never been “to defend democracy by addressing its weaknesses and limits.” Had it been so, it would have done so: it would have addressed the large obvious flaws in the 2016 process, flaws that were massively demonstrated by the Wikileaks releases and elsewhere. It would have addressed the influence of money, foreign money, and foreign government money in the campaign, including Hillary Clinton’s contributions to the Donald Trump nomination campaign. It would have addressed collusion between candidates and the corporate commercial press and a sitting president, as well as the apparent miscount of third-party votes in several states. It would also have addressed the difficulties of getting third parties into large media debates and publicity. Perhaps it even would have addressed the ongoing farce of the electoral college. It did not do any of this. In very many cases, journalists and outlets and even their followers actively resisted attempts to include these.

The Mueller investigation was also never particularly about Donald Trump. Of course it does not exonerate Donald Trump. It could not: it failed to make a reasonable accusation from which to exonerate him, a man who has lived in the broad public eye for at least 30 years principally as a clown, a con, and a charlatan.

But I doubt that the hoax has been a failure, however, disappointing the results may be for the many people who were apparently sincerely gulled into it. It forestalled almost all investigation and almost all call for investigation of the actual crippling distortions of democratic process that the Wikileaks releases of emails.

It has largely forestalled calls from Democrats to investigate the not-quite-total hijacking of that party from the interests of its constituency, and it has to a remarkable extent led that consituency away from many of its saner values–support for open forums, free speech, due process, transparency in government. It has piggybacked off of the integrity and credibility of those who would criticize this government, and it has given the broad population reason to doubt all of that criticism.

By whatever distaste any of us with our different points of view might have with any part of this, let us at least not accept candidates of any party about whom we cannot reasonably speak in any positive light. Let us not cast a vote for anyone who supports the current blackballing of election-related companies that work with primary challengers.

It is a somewhat separate point, but Taibbi does will with this:


He’s a "Racist, a Conman, and a Cheat."

Everyone of us, even the denying liars, have witnessed this with their own eyes.

Yep, Red-baiting is the go-to for the plutocracy whenever democracy threatens to rear its troublesome head, cf. pre WWI, post WWII and right here, right now. No war but the class war.


Please, Mr. Isaac, point out the evidence (not “assessments” or “conclusions”) that Russia conducted a cyber campaign in favor of Donald Trump. I’ve carefully read all published material on this topic for over 2 years, and I haven’t seen any.

Furthermore, what are the “core elements of liberal democracy” that you see threatened by Putin as part of a “loose transnational movement” ?

Do those core elements include democratic elections? If so, would you not agree that concentrated private capital in the U.S. has already severely undermined our elections? And wouldn’t that core element pertain to our treatment of other nations’ elections? If so, why haven’t you written about the routine interference of the U.S. abroad … including in Russia, for instance; after all, the interventionists here laughingly bragged about their election of Yeltsin. Or in Nicaragua, Venezuela and so many other countries?

Would another core element be that all persons are created equal; and all citizens entitled to a voice and vote? How well do you think we’re doing in that regard, here in the good 'ol USA, by ourselves?

In addition to having oligarchs determine who can be candidates, and effectively buying elections for them and thereby, favorable policies, we also allow voter suppression. And as both bank redlining and the serial, legally sanctioned murders of innocent people of color makes clear, we clearly do not treat all citizens as equal under the law. Forget the rights to liberty and the pursuit of happiness; we don’t even recognize the rights of some even to life.

I don’t want to ignore a growing wave of fascism in parts of the world. It’s worse in some places (Brazil comes to mind, and it’s threatening to topple a government in Venezuela with the aid of the U.S.), then in others. And anyone who’s been to Russia and/or understands it, its government is certainly not a model of democracy. But to paint Russia with the same broad brush is dishonest.

All in all, Mr. Issac, I find your piece an annoying doubling down on the “Russiagate” conspiracy theory, and am disappointed that Common Dreams chose to publish it. Perhaps , if you at least changed the phrase to “NEOliberal democracy” (though that too is a bit oxymoronic), it would make a bit more sense.

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