What was Mueller thinking?


Attorney General William Barr delivered his summary of Robert Mueller’s investigation to Congress, clearing the President of collusion. But CNN’s commentators say there’s more to it than that. The views expressed in this commentary are theirs. View more opinion articles on CNN.

Shan Wu: Mueller is not a savior, demon or avenger

The conclusion of the Mueller probe, via William Barr’s summary, forces us as a country to confront our over-reliance upon the criminal justice system to solve societal problems. Liberals, conservatives, Democrats and Republicans have looked to Mueller for a solution to the legion of troubling issues raised by the Trump administration. Mostly dependent upon one’s politics, Mueller himself is viewed as savior, demon or avenger. Of course, he and the criminal justice system itself are none of those, and beliefs to the contrary are the tail wagging the dog.

The Barr summary breaks down the Mueller investigation into two areas: Russian collusion and obstruction of justice. While most of the witnesses and evidence Mueller relied upon remain unknown, the Barr summary quotes Mueller as stating that the “investigation did not establish that members of the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.”

Barr does not explain what Mueller meant by “establish” or what legal standard he may have used, but he does confirm that Russia sought to interfere with our election and made “multiple offers to assist the Trump campaign” through intermediaries. And we know the Trump campaign never reported those offers.

Those failures and potentially the campaign and candidate’s apparent willingness to explore those offers do not have to be charged as crimes to be anathema to us. So, too, should the President’s obvious attraction to dictators, evidence that he lied to the American people about his interest in doing business in Russia, and, such allegations like one from a Russian-born business associate of Trump — to offer Vladimir Putin a $50 million dollar apartment for free as a marketing ploy. (The President’s lawyer denied that Trump was involved with this.)

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