The special counsel examining whether Donald Trump’s presidential campaign colluded with Russians who attacked our electoral process has many finish lines ahead of him.
I want to focus on just two of them.
What if he finds collusion and obstruction of justice? What if he determines that the president is right, that there was no wrongdoing?
Either way, it won’t satisfy at least half the nation.
If Robert Mueller’s legal team finds evidence of collusion and obstruction of justice — and maybe more — you can bet the farm, the ranch and your first-born child that Trumpkins across the land are going to howl loudly. Mueller might recommend bringing criminal charges. He simply might say that the president did something wrong and leave it at that. Rest assured, it will ignite a firestorm.
If, though, he comes up with nothing, you can make the same wager that those on the other side will howl just as loudly as the Trumpkins. Their angst will come from a deeply held belief that Trump is an agent of the Russians, that Vladimir Putin has the goods on him, that the president simply is unfit for the office to which he was elected.
Whatever the conclusion, Mueller’s final report will not end the intense national quarreling.
My reaction? I would hope to be more, um, magnanimous. Even if it goes against what I believe.
I have many thoughts about what Trump did. Or what he allowed to be done. I have said all along that I believe he is unfit for the presidency. But I haven’t seen the evidence. I haven’t studied the nitty-gritty of it. I haven’t talked to lawyers, national security experts or political operatives close to the situation.
I’m sitting here in the cheap seats, the peanut gallery, where opinions get all the respect they deserve.
I would therefore be forced to accept whatever Mueller decides, even if it rubs me raw, or inflames my political passion, or fills me with anger.
Back in 1995 when the jury acquitted O.J. Simpson of murdering his former wife and her friend, I shared the anger of millions of Americans who believed Simpson got away with a heinous crime. I couldn’t fathom how the jury could make the decision in four hours after sitting through months of testimony, theatrics and fire-breathing testimony.
But the jurors did. The judicial system worked, even if it didn’t satisfy all of us. I didn’t agree with the jurors, but I accepted it. Why? Because they heard all the evidence. I didn’t.
Thus, I believe I am capable of moving on even if Robert Mueller’s investigative journey staggers to a conclusion I won’t like.