PGHS Newsbreaker

President Trump Calls Russian Collusion a “hoax and the dirtiest political trick in modern US history”

Written by Oscar Scholin, Journalist

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On March 24, 2019, attorney general William Barr released a letter to Congress detailing his summary of the now two-year old Robert Mueller Special Counsel investigation. According to Barr, Mueller’s report contained insufficient evidence to support the notion that there was Trump-Russian collusion. However, Mueller notes that, “while this report does not conclude that the president committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.” Despite Mueller’s words of caution, President Trump took the results of the Mueller investigation as a political victory and tweeted, “For two years they [the mainstream media] pushed the Russian Collusion Delusion when they always knew there was No Collusion. They truly are the Enemy of the People and the Real Opposition Party!” Trump also touted the results as a “complete and total exoneration” and blamed the Democrats for an attempted “illegal takedown.”

Despite Trump’s perhaps overzealous claims, the fact that Barr’s letter consists of only four pages while Mueller’s investigation exceeds a lengthy 300 raises potential questions about the accuracy of Barr’s synopsis and has led many Democrats in Congress to push for the full release of Mueller’s report. Barr might have made his own interpretation over whether or not Trump is guilty of obstructing justice (if Trump attempted to cover up the truth of events or to obstruct any official court proceeding), as Barr believes that a president’s exercise of his or her powers as the executive cannot be impeded by obstruction statutes. Barr’s belief raises a fundamental constitutional question: should a president be allowed to exercise executive power and authority in a corrupt manner? The judicial branch has no answer as of yet.

Furthermore, the proof of Russian contacts with many of President Trump’s campaign aides and White House officials raises doubts on the President’s claim of “complete and total exoneration.” These aides who had contact with Russia denied it under oath and four of whom later relented and confessed: Michael Flynn (Trump’s Security Adviser), Rick Gates (deputy campaign chairman), George Papadopoulos (foreign policy adviser for Trump’s campaign), and Michael Cohen (Trump’s longtime lawyer). Other indicted Trump affiliates include Paul Manafort, who is guilty of lying repeatedly under oath and of dubious political dealings with Ukrainian politicians, and Roger Stone, who is accused of obstructing justice. Also, President Trump’s behavior undermines his claim of his exoneration: on July 27, 2016, he stated, “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing,” in reference to Hillary Clinton’s email scandal during the 2016 presidential election.

But ultimately, whatever the truth may be, the American people, as citizens of a venerable democracy, deserve to see the complete Mueller report and make their own decisions about Trump’s “exoneration.”

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President Trump Calls Russian Collusion a “hoax and the dirtiest political trick in modern US history”