Robert Mueller’s work is finished: The investigations into the Russian affair are completed. His final report is still with Attorney General William Barr. He promised Congress that he would provide a summary of the results in the coming days – possibly as early as this weekend. But the most important result for Donald Trump is already known: Mueller recommended according to American media reports no further charges. This would make it clear that the Special Investigator accuses neither Trump nor members of his team of a conspiracy with Russians, which would be enough for further criminal charges.
For Trump that was a great success, it said in the evening in the talk shows of American television. The president can now declare his “victory” over what he often calls “witch hunts” investigations. Among some Republicans, the mood was triumphant. Deputy Matt Gaetz tweeted: “No conspiracy!” The investigation had been a sheer waste of taxpayers’ money. However, Trump himself was silent and did not tweet from his Florida property. After all, his Attorney General has so far stated only that Mueller Report available. Nothing is known about the content. The ministry is not required to submit the full report to Congress or to publish it. In the coming days it will become clear which documents from the Mueller inquiry the ministry can pass on to Congress at all.
The summary of the results that Minister Barr had in mind is certainly not enough from the perspective of the Democrats. You want Mueller’s full report to be published. They also demand access to the documents that investigators have collected as evidence over the past two years. The White House may block the publication of many documents, other documents may be withheld because they are pieces of evidence in criminal proceedings. Barr said he wanted “maximum transparency.” However, many commentators believe that the White House will control as much as possible any congressional publications or briefings.
The Democrats now want to continue the investigations of the Congress committees. Adam Schiff, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, told CNN that many things could jeopardize the country’s security without being a criminal offense in the strict sense. Therefore, the deputies would have to know all the results. Schiff also said that there was much evidence that Trump wanted to obstruct the judiciary. An example of this was the dismissal of FBI boss James Comey, who stated that Trump had wanted to persuade him to suspend investigations against ex-security adviser Michael Flynn. If necessary, Mueller could also be summoned to the intelligence committee, Schiff said.
That there was a systematic, criminally relevant cooperation with Russia, with which the Trump campaign aimed to influence the choice, now seems less likely. The numerous contacts with Russians, about which several Trump confidants told the untruth, thus appear as a series of offers from the Russian side, which were enthusiastically answered. Altogether 16 coworkers and advisers of the campaign are said to have had such contacts. The fact that Trump and his colleagues subsequently attempted to cover this up, however, did not seem to make Mueller eligible for further charges. The fact that Russians tried to influence the election campaign is considered safe by American intelligence agencies. About the extent of this influence his report could contain new details.
Through the Mueller investigation so far, many crimes have been cleared up. Against six Trump confidants there were charges, five pleaded guilty or were convicted. 28 others, including 26 Russians, were also charged, many in absentia. The cases often involved financial crimes, but also lies about Russia contacts. The trial of Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen, for example, got under way through the investigation. The court found that there had been a plot to cover the stories of women who had had sex with Trump in the 2016 election campaign.
Mueller also defied the Trump-defined “red line” and examined the finances of the Trump clan. It is theoretically possible that Trump’s tax records, which the Democrats have been demanding for years, can be found in Mueller’s files. There are a few more cases involving Trump and his staff – but they are not concerned with the allegation of conspiracy with Russia. In New York, the prosecutor questioned staff members of the Trump Organization and the committee that attended the 2017 inauguration ceremony.
Nevertheless, Trump can be satisfied for now. His followers always followed him through all these crises and revelations, as did the Republican party apparatus. In the coming weeks, if no details come to light that hurt the President more politically than ever, much of the “cloud” that Trump saw hanging from the beginning of his presidency could actually dissipate.
That no further charges can be expected, he can state as confirmation that the Mueller investigation was a “witch hunt”. In his own party and among the Republican voters, this will benefit him in the 2020 election campaign. The Democrats in Congress are already fighting with the charge that they are too focused on the investigations.