Mary Ellen is an adjunct professor of sociology and anthropology at Palomar College, San Marcos, CA.
From my perspective (just minutes after the release of Barr’s summary of the Mueller report), it seems that the long-awaited report only produces additional questions and sows deeper division in an already confused and divided populace.
Based on Barr’s brief summary, we now know that Trump either did or did not commit obstruction of justice. Is that not precisely what we knew before the report and summary were issued?
Trump’s critics have seen evidence that he did obstruct justice. Trump’s supporters claim that he did not. Barr’s summary will be used by the supporters to fortify their already strong support for their President, while the summary will only inflame Trump’s critics who know that the underlying and uncontested reality behind the Mueller investigation is that the Russians interfered with the 2016 election, thereby defeating Clinton and winning the White House for a man unqualified for the office. Trump was not legitimately elected, and the two-year Mueller investigation has done nothing to address the fact that the United States was attacked by a foreign power and a longstanding adversary.
The Trump story of course is not over. The Southern District of New York may yet have something to say about the legality of Trump’s business dealings.
The Congress too has work to do. Issues related to the emoluments clause— the fact that Trump and his family have profited richly off of the Presidency needs to be pursued. If Jimmy Carter had to sell his profitable peanut farm when he won the White House, then how has Trump managed to retain and profit from his real estate holdings and charge exorbitant fees to foreign dignitaries staying in his DC hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue? Clearly Trump and his family are not out of the woods.
And if the legal system fails us, another Presidential election is on the horizon. If we can keep the Russians and other foreign adversaries out of our social media (or at least muzzle them), then We, the People can do what Mueller couldn’t do. A new, capable President taking over the Oval Office in 2021 would be the greatest democratic victory in history.