- - Wednesday, March 27, 2019

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

On March 22, the Democratic dream of President Trump being removed from office died a quick death.

As Attorney General William Barr’s letter to Congress stated, “The special counsel’s investigation did not find that the Trump campaign or anyone associated with it conspired or coordinated with Russia in its efforts to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election.”

On the question of obstruction of justice, Mr. Barr said special counsel Robert Mueller did not reach a conclusion, leaving it to the Department of Justice to decide.

After reviewing the report, Mr. Barr and his deputy, Rod Rosenstein, determined that there was no evidence of obstruction of justice and that since there was no underlying crime, Justice Department procedures required that no obstruction charges would be brought.

Ignoring those two conclusions, Democrats instead seized on one sentence in the four-page letter, where Mr. Barr wrote that the Mueller report “did not exonerate” the president on obstruction.

Special counsels do not exonerate people. They gather evidence, and with that evidence they either seek indictments or they don’t.

After two years, Mr. Mueller chose not to seek any indictments relating to Mr. Trump or his family. This is the only result that matters, and it is a result Democrats refuse to accept. But it is a result that the American people see clearly.

The Barr letter went further, undermining nearly every single aspect of the Steele dossier, the expansion of which was funded by the Clinton campaign and which is suspected to have been formed by Russian intelligence.

Won’t it be a cruel irony if the only Russian collusion in the 2016 election turns out to be Russian intelligence colluding with the Clinton campaign’s opposition researcher?

Sen. Lindsey Graham, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, made three keen observations after the Barr letter was released.

First, the South Carolina Republican said this was a “home run” outcome and the best moment of Mr. Trump’s presidency.

Second, he urged the president to focus on moving a legislative agenda with the Democrats, likely to include infrastructure and reducing drug prices.

Third, Mr. Graham said that no president since Richard Nixon had been investigated as thoroughly, and now he would be scrutinizing everyone who caused this situation in the first place. He is especially interested in how the Steele dossier was formed, how it was vetted, how it made it into the Oval Office and how it was leaked to the press. He also has said he wants to understand whether the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act process was abused and how search warrants were secured.

These are crucial questions. Both parties should want to find the answers, but Democrats seem uninterested.

They are demanding the entire Mueller report and want to see all of the evidence he collected.

Mr. Barr is reviewing the report to ensure that no information pertinent to any grand jury proceedings, material subject to executive privilege, or classified material is released. He has said this process will take “weeks, not months.”

Democrats and their journalist friends have spent more than two years screaming “collusion” at the top of their lungs. Mr. Mueller offered the final word and cleared the president.

We know now that without any doubt whatsoever, the 2016 presidential election was fairly decided.

The 2020 presidential election will not be about Russia. Democrats who continue to spin absurd conspiracy theories will appear extreme.

Will the public reward Democrats for continuing their war on Mr. Trump?

Democrats have hardly any legislative agenda, and their two years in power will likely yield little of consequence.

The president can now pivot. Let Senate Republicans investigate the dossier and FISA warrants. He has precious little time remaining this year to secure new victories.

What can still be achieved?

He can work with Congress to pass his U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade deal. He can secure a trade deal with China. He can continue replacing and repairing border barrier while beginning new construction on the southwestern border as the country awaits a ruling on his emergency declaration.

There is a path to passing a bipartisan infrastructure bill and legislation to reduce pharmaceutical prices. Both parties share those priorities, and with the Russia investigation behind them, they can now work together in a spirit of cooperation, if Democrats will be open to it.

The Mueller report appears to have ended all debate about Russia, whether Democrats can see that or not. The question now is how Mr. Trump will spend his political capital.

Matt Mackowiak is president of the Austin, Texas, and Washington-based Potomac Strategy Group. He is a Republican consultant, a Bush administration and Bush-Cheney re-election campaign veteran and former press secretary to two U.S. senators.

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