...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. Based on the facts and the applicable legal standards, we are unable to reach that judgment.
That is the nut of the thing.
Yes, there is a lot of very concerning material concerning the attempts of Russia to hijack the 2016 election. That is a national security matter which should alarm us all. But in another way, that is the easiest part of the Report for everyone to take seriously. You do not have to have hoped that Donald J. Trump would prove to be the bastard that quite the larger part of the population believes him to be, in order to read the Russia material and decide that shit has to stop.
But on the extremely serious charge of Obstruction of Justice, the charge which had many of us fantasizing Trump being hauled out of the White House in handcuffs, prefitted with an orange jump suit, Mueller is very clear.
Accordingly, while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.
What is also evident to me is that the Trump campaign is not at all cleared from the charge of collusion. It is cleared of the very narrow, criminal charge of “cooperation and conspiracy,” which apparently required not just one but two smoking guns. An email, a letter, a conversation, a phone call – something not just alleged, but corroborated evidence - of an agreement. “You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours.” “You get the goods on Hillary, I’ll see what I can do about those pesky sanctions.”
They couldn’t find it. So they couldn't prove “cooperation and conspiracy.”
But collusion? Oh, there is collusion on a grand scale, and it is documented in the Special Counsel’s report in detail. Let me count the ways:
Paul Manafort is the one who regularly met with Konstantine Kilimnik, handing over reams of campaign polling data to assist in Russia’s sustained effort to affect the election in Trump’s favor – or at least, to take votes from Hillary. Here is the damning evidence from Volume One, page 138:
…Manafort briefed Kilimnik on the state of the Trump campaign and Manafort’s plan to win the election. That briefing encompassed the Campaign’s messaging and its internal polling data. According to (Rick) Gates, it also included discussion of “battleground” states, which Manafort identified as Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Minnesota.
This statement is followed by redacted Grand Jury testimony, presumably from Rick Gates.
It was, of course, three of those states, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan, who put Trump’s electoral college numbers over the top by slim margins, under 80,000 votes, spread among them. There is probably no way to determine whether Russian use of this polling data had enough “positive” effect to hold them responsible for Trump’s 2016 win. But nobody can tell me that Paul Manafort and Konstantin Kilimnik were not colluding like Judas and the Sanhedrin.
Manafort sold three of our sovereign states for – what? What is 30 pieces of silver in today’s economy?
Read the report. It’s all there. From Russian efforts to sabotage the campaign of a United States presidential candidate, to the collusion of several members of the Trump campaign in that effort, to the attempts of the feloniously-elected president to obstruct justice in the investigation of that election process.
There is no other conclusion to be drawn other than that nearly everything alleged is documented and corroborated. It was Mueller’s task to investigate. Not to indict nor to try and convict. The Report must be sent completely unredacted to Congress, who must eventually send articles of impeachment to the Senate. It is the only honorable recourse remaining.