Report paints a damning portrait of Trump’s presidency
This is an analysis
The principal focus of the special counsel’s investigation was on questions of criminality. But there is more than the issue of what rises to the level of criminal conspiracy or criminal obstruction when judging a president and his administration. These are questions that go to the heart of what is acceptable or normal or advisable in a democracy. On that basis, the Mueller report provides a damning portrait of the president and those around him for actions taken during the 2016 campaign and while in office.
The 448-page document is replete with evidence of repeated lying by public officials and others (some of whom have been charged for that conduct), of the president urging not to tell the truth, of the president seeking to shut down the investigation, of a Trump campaign hoping to benefit politically from Russian hacking and leaks of information damaging to its opponent, of a White House in chaos and operating under abnormal rules.
It shows a White House where officials sometimes — but not always — resisted the president’s more nefarious orders and concludes that Trump was not able to influence the investigation as much as he wished because advisers declined to carry out some of those orders. It also suggests, despite his many claims to the contrary, that the president felt vulnerable to an investigation. When informed just months after taking office that a special counsel was to be appointed, Trump exclaimed that it would mean “the end of my presidency.”
Mueller’s report looks at episodes in which the president’s actions might be construed as an attempt to obstruct the investigation. Those include his conduct related to the firing of Michael Flynn, his first national security adviser; the firing of FBI Director James B. Comey and subsequent appointment of a special counsel; the president’s efforts to remove the special counsel; efforts to prevent disclosure of the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting with Russians; Trump’s efforts to force then-White House counsel Donald McGahn to deny that he had been ordered to fire Mueller.