When the rumors of existing proof of Trump or Trump campaign communications with Russian officials first surfaced years ago, I questioned (both internally and amongst acquaintances) how such information could have been legally obtained.
It never occurred to me that such proof either didn’t exist or wouldn’t/couldn’t come to light. When the Special Counsel Investigation was officially launched, I assumed someone had figured out a way to legitimize that proof.
In response to my cries for reason, cooperation, and an end to rabid extremism on both sides, I’ve been handed years of unprovable allegations and fruitless in-fighting.
I’m no Trump supporter; in fact, I’m registered as an Unaffiliated voter and have only ever voted for Democratic Party national, state, or local candidates. However, as a former low-level government intelligence worker, it had been my business and duty to be at least vaguely familiar with the rules that govern intelligence collection and reporting, and I just couldn’t ever piece together how someone had gotten around those to legally obtain this hypothetical proof.
A month or two ago, I commented both privately and in public print that I was losing faith that the Mueller probe would result in charges against the President. While many cheered the fall of each of those indicted individuals around Trump, I fairly quietly wondered and worried why the charges of which they were being convicted never seemed to get closer to “collusion” than a failure to properly cooperate with the investigation.
And there was the issue of the amount of time that the investigation had already taken. I didn’t begrudge the Mueller camp their reported desire to be thorough (in fact, I thought it was the best approach), but it also seemed that even “thorough” examination of definitive wrongdoing could only take so long.
Regardless of our individual perspectives, I think the reasonable among us have to agree right now that the Mueller probe was not able to discover any shareable and indisputable legal evidence of “collusion”. As of this afternoon, whether we agree with it or not, it appears that (for the time being, at least) there will also be no charges for “obstruction” for the President.
I’m not going to call the investigation a “witch hunt”, because I have my doubts that absolutely nothing inappropriate took place (as I’m sure it does with most modern Presidential [and maybe even Congressional] campaigns). I do have to wonder, though, what in the world happened with the investigation.
I can’t believe that illegitimate pro-Trump influence is such that even the integrity of this insulated investigation was compromised and that the divided sides that make up “The Man” secretly shook hands behind the curtain to keep us in the dark. If that were the case, it seems unlikely that there would have been so many peripheral casualties.
I also find it difficult to accept that this all originated from nothing. I don’t think that the entirety of the body of Trump and Trump campaign and business connections to Russia, of Russia meddling in the election on behalf of Trump, of other illegal actions on the part of the Trump advisory circle, and of the existence of some true original justification for the investigation was completely fabricated from the beginning.
I am, however, left with questions, and the majority of these would be directed at the accusatory side of the issue. The largest among these, in my opinion, is about what the plan was. How could they have gone at this as hard and as long as they did without complete confidence in the beginning that the damning evidence was already in hand? Someone please tell me that the sense of certainty that they could make this stick from the very beginning wasn’t merely based on a hunch and then a strategy of “poke and hope.”
You might be saying, “What’s the harm if it was?” After all, perhaps they succeeded in casting enough doubt on the President that it had a “desirable” effect anyway. I’ve considered this, and I’m afraid I don’t agree.
In order for it to have been effective, it would have had to have swayed a significant number of people who, barring all else, would have continued to support Trump if there had been no investigation but who now also have turned against him because there was an investigation, even if that investigation bore no charges. That doesn’t apply to virtually anyone on the Left; it certainly can’t have been that effective on the Right, and I think its effects are seriously mitigated in the Middle.
Anyone in the Middle who hasn’t been sufficiently dissuaded from Trump support by his policies, his personality, his statements, and the litany of ongoing accusations against him as a person is not going to be nudged over the edge by an investigation that yielded far less significant result than annoyance.
In my personal case, for instance, my views on Trump are similar now to what they would have been had the investigation never taken place. The possible exception, if I’m forced to admit one, is that I’m possibly a little impressed that he was able to avoid being charged.
The much larger effect for me, if I’m being honest, is my irritation with the accusatory side. All things considered, while I don’t agree with them, I can’t say that the people now chanting “witch hunt” louder than ever are completely unjustified. I can’t say that the waste of time and money and all of the fervor and attention surrounding the investigation don’t bother me.
What’s more, I can’t say that my distrust in the intentions and motivations of the people on both sides of the aisle/issue hasn’t significantly increased. In response to my cries for reason, cooperation, and an end to rabid extremism on both sides, I’ve been handed years of unprovable allegations and fruitless in-fighting. It’s all just so discouraging.