The conclusion that the President didn’t commit a crime doesn’t clear him of the more damning “obstruction of justice” charge.
American President Donald Trump may have tweeted a relieved “Game Over” after the much-awaited 448-page report by special counsel Robert Mueller failed to nail him on colluding with Russia on derailing Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign in his favour. But US attorney-general William Barr’s view that Mr Trump only had “non-corrupt motives” and Mr Trump’s own relieved “having a good day” are completely at odds with reality. The conclusion that the President didn’t commit a crime doesn’t clear him of the more damning “obstruction of justice” charge.
Mr Trump’s efforts to derail the former FBI chief’s investigation and force his removal are just a part of the findings that lay out the President’s attempts to influence the 22-month inquiry. Mr Mueller details 10 episodes of Mr Trump’s obfuscation, including refusing to answer written questions, repeated attempts to alter the investigation’s course by issuing direct instructions to White House staff not to cooperate, dangling a pardon to one aide, instructing another to fire Mr Mueller, and ensuring the specifics of meetings his son Donald Trump Jr and son-in-law Jared Kushner had with campaign chief Paul Manafort — the latter prosecuted for his contacts with Russians — weren’t shared.
In fact, calling on Congress to investigate “the President’s corrupt exercise of the powers of office” leaves the door wide open for impeachment. And while no Democrat or Republican will back the move right now, it could become a powerful campaign tool in the run-up to the 2020 presidential polls. More so, once Mr Mueller testifies before Congress next week and the redacted report is made available in full. Mr Trump may have dodged a bullet. Not the smoking gun.