Robert Mueller released his final report to current AG William Barr who then, in a surprisingly short period of time, released a four-page summary of the findings.
The two points of the investigation were: did Trump or his campaign collude with the Russian government to effect the 2016 election; did Trump commit obstruction attempting to influence the Russian investigation. Mueller seemingly punted on the obstruction charge, but did reach a conclusion about the Russian collusion: Trump and his campaign did not actively conspire with the Russian government in order to win the election.
Without the complete report, it’s difficult to determine from Barr’s obtuse and twisted summary the facts that Mueller used to arrive at this conclusion. However, the media is trumpeting the results in banner headlines eagerly shared by Trump fans and panned by Trump foes.
Folks, this is a total legal exoneration of the president. Congress will want to know more, of course. But the topline: No conspiracy, no obstruction.
— Ken Dilanian (@KenDilanianNBC) March 24, 2019
I never expected Mueller to find active collusion between Trump and the Russians. For one, Trump is dense as a load of bricks. As the Barr summary notes, Russian invitations were dangled, but Trump, his campaign people, and his sons, were, frankly, incapable of the intelligence necessary to perceive the invitations for what they were.
But as noted above, the Special Counsel did not find that the Trump campaign, or anyone associated with it, conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in these efforts, despite multiple offers from Russian-affiliated individuals to assist the Trump campaign.
Don Jr. is invited to meet with a Russian operative in order to hear dirt about Hillary. Don Jr. has such a lack of understanding about campaign laws (not to mention a familial unfamiliarity with ethics) that all he hears is “Hillary…dirt” and responds, like Pavlov’s dogs to the bell. The same lack of understanding and ignorance is obvious across the breadth of Trump’s campaign team. Of course it was—the team was a reflection of Trump, himself.
Collusion and conspiracy requires intent, and intent requires a modicum of capability and intelligence. In response, I point you to Trump, the last two years.
There is another reason why Trump didn’t conspire with the Russians: he didn’t want to win.
Trump never wanted to win in 2016; he never expected to win. He expected to lose to Hillary Clinton, and then spend the next four years telling everyone he was robbed, that Hillary is evil, and to lead a quasi-shadow insurgency, all from the comfort of his New York Penthouse. All of the attention with none of the responsibility.
Remember, this is a man who never stayed in anything that was not a Trump property. Who obsessed about traveling to locations where he couldn’t easily get back home again to New York. A lazy, unintelligent man who has bluffed his way through life and who expected to never have to make good on any of his promises. So he promised the world, and a wall, assuming he’d never have to deliver.
Trump didn’t even have a victory speech prepared. He couldn’t understand why his campaign would have to spend money on a transition team. He never expected to win. He didn’t want to win.
You don’t conspire with Russia to win an election you don’t want. But you do look for any and all dirt on your competitor so you can make that person’s life a living hell while you play the virtuous victim. This isn’t collusion: this is Trump.