“This is the end of my presidency. I’m f––d.” This is what President Donald Trump said after he learned that Special Counsel Robert Mueller III had been appointed to conduct the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. This quote was unearthed in the report of that very same investigation, a report full of new information about unethical, and at times, potentially criminal acts. The report paints a picture of a man who had much to hide from the American people despite his insistence that it was a “witch hunt” all along.
The part of the investigation dedicated to possible conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia shed light on a multitude of shady interactions; however, the report established that no criminal conspiracy had occurred. This conclusion was made in part because Mueller believed the government could not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that “these individuals acted…with general knowledge of the illegality of their conduct.” It’s significant to note that not being charged with a crime for legal reasons does not necessarily mean you are actually innocent of that crime.
In regard to the obstruction of justice portion of the investigation, the report details various actions taken by Trump, many of which could warrant impeachment hearings on their own. Those actions include Trump’s firing of then-FBI Director James Comey, repeated attempts to fire Mueller and directing members of his administration to falsely dispute press reports to the public about those attempts, among other potentially criminal acts. These string of actions show a pattern of repeated abuse of power by President Trump and make clear that Trump is not worthy of the office he holds. Importantly, Mueller states, “If we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the President clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state.” This remark gives a clear sign to Congress that what comes next is up to them. Mueller also states, “The conclusion that Congress may apply the obstruction laws to the President’s corrupt exercise of the powers of office accords with our constitutional system of checks and balances.” Over the course of two years, Mueller gathered evidence and built a case that the president of the United States committed the crime of obstruction of justice, not once, but repeatedly. It would not only be unwise for Congress to ignore the facts laid out, it would also be an affront to the Constitution itself.
Yet, given all of this damning evidence, congressional Republicans still continue to attack the investigation, and the president himself has cried “treason” against Democrats. Republicans are showing their hand, that the rule of law and the Constitution mean nothing to them. Republicans care so much about projecting strength that they are fighting to keep Trump in office, a man wrapped in one of the biggest political scandals in American history and whose actions will embarrass the country in history textbooks for decades. If Congress does not check the executive branch, the corrupt efforts of President Trump will not only be a scourge on American politics and governance for the duration of his term, but will provide a precedent for what Congress will allow corrupt presidents to get away with in the future.
If this report was not a directive for Congress, it provides them a roadmap at the very least. Congress has a constitutional duty to be a check on the executive branch. To uphold that duty there is one thing that they should do, one thing that they must do. Impeach President Donald J. Trump.