Back in January, approximately 1,000 Robert Mueller news cycles ago, I argued that given the arc of the special counsel Russia probe, it’d be embarrassing for Donald Trump if he weren’t an agent of the Russian intelligence:
“We’ve reached a point in the Mueller probe where there are only two scenarios left,” I wrote at the time. “Either the president is compromised by the Russian government and has been working covertly to cooperate with Vladimir Putin after Russia helped win him the 2016 election—or Trump will go down in history as the world’s most famous ‘useful idiot,’ as communists used to call those who could be co-opted to the cause without realizing it. At least the former scenario—that the president of the United States is actively working to advance the interests of our country’s foremost, long-standing, traditional foreign adversary—would make him seem smarter and wilier. The latter scenario is simply a tragic farce for everyone involved.”
Last Thursday’s report made clear which answer we face: tragic farce. The report is so damning, laying out at least 10 possible areas that could rise to obstruction, that Democrats have scrambled since to avoid the inescapable conclusion from Mueller’s final report that they need to convene impeachment hearings.
Over the weekend, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) became the first of the 2020 Democratic presidential contenders to call for impeachment. “To ignore a president’s repeated efforts to obstruct an investigation into his own disloyal behavior would inflict great and lasting damage on this country, and it would suggest that both the current and future Presidents would be free to abuse their power in similar ways,” Warren tweeted.
But as Mueller laid out in his 448-page report, Trump’s behavior during his campaign and first two years in office makes clear that Trump was not simply a “useful idiot,” a clueless pawn manipulated to Russia’s ends. It’s worse than that. [Continue reading…]