For two years, the mainstream media has claimed President Donald Trump and his 2016 campaign colluded with Russia to steal the election from Hillary Clinton.
“Collusion,” “Collusion,” “Collusion,” Jan Brady might say.
But after Special Counsel Robert Mueller recommended no further indictments — and indicted no one from the Trump campaign with colluding with Russia — the narrative had to change. Trump still did something wrong, something impeachable.
Since Attorney General William Barr summarized Mueller’s report by saying there was “no collusion,” but suggested there wasn’t enough evidence to charge Trump with obstruction, the media has predictably cried foul. It was Barr who determined there wasn’t enough evidence to charge Trump with obstruction, we’re told, which means there really was enough but the president’s hand-picked attorney general saved him.
And this is the story the media is running with today. The New York Times’ front-page headline was, “Mueller Report Lays Out Russian Contacts And Trump’s Frantic Efforts To Foil Inquiry.” The Washington Post went with, “Mueller details Russian interference, Trump’s attempts to disrupt probe.” The Wall Street Journal was a bit more measured, writing “Mueller Report Explains Findings On Obstruction, Conspiracy.”
The Post wrote article after article about obstruction and embarrassing details of the Oval Office, but none of these report the most important finding: That the two year media tantrum over alleged collusion didn’t pan out.
The Mueller investigation was predicated on the idea of collusion. It was, at its core, a counterintelligence investigation, not a criminal investigation, though it did end up charging people with crimes. As Andy McCarthy has explained numerous times, a counterintelligence investigation is done “to inform the president, through his subordinate intelligence officials, of information about threats to, and opportunities to advance, American interests.” He cannot obstruct an investigation done allegedly on his behalf.
Further, there was no underlying crime — this was never a criminal investigation. How can Trump obstruct an investigation into a nonexistent crime?
As Daily Wire Editor-in-Chief Ben Shapiro wrote in his takeaways from the Mueller report, the special counsel went to great lengths to try and twist Trump’s criticism of an investigation into a crime he did not commit into a charge of obstruction.
“The President does have First Amendment rights. To suggest that public criticism of Robert Mueller or public praise of Paul Manafort amounts to criminal obstruction of justice requires an extraordinarily broad reading of obstruction of justice statutes,” Shapiro wrote.
My former Washington Examiner colleague Byron York explained that the investigation was “about something that did not happen,” and why the obstruction investigation existed:
The Mueller report is divided into two volumes. Volume I covers the collusion question. Volume II considers whether the president obstructed the investigation. But of course there would have been no obstruction investigation had there not been the collusion allegation to begin with. There would be no Volume II if there were no Volume I.
And Volume I was a political assassination attempt by Democrats who were upset their preferred candidate lost the 2016 election.