A summary of the report by Special Counsel Robert Mueller was released on Sunday, saying that US President Donald Trump’s campaign didn’t conspire or coordinate with Russia in its efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election. Even though the report led to criminal charges against at least 34 people, it found no proof that the Trump campaign was involved in the hacking of the US Democratic Party before the election.
Trump and other Republicans have repeatedly condemned the probe as a “witch hunt”. On Sunday, his lawyer Rudy Giuliani called for a probe into how the report originated, after similar calls from President Trump.
"Hopefully, there will be time when Washington has enough courage to officially acknowledge that not only there has been no collusion, but all the insinuations about the so-called Russian meddling are groundless slander invented for the sake of domestic political fight in the United States", the ministry said in a statement.
Sputnik has discussed the results of the Mueller investigation with Cal Jillson, a political science professor at Southern Methodist University.
Sputnik: The investigation into President Trump’s campaign took two years basically, and it hasn’t come up with results that would really justify it many would say, because it did take so long, it was very extensive. In your view, do you think that this has affected the reputation of the Democratic Party?
The results, the conclusions are that while Russia did meddle in the 2016 campaign, the Trump campaign did not collude, did not coordinate with Russia in doing that. So I think it was meant to clarify what happened in 2016; it did that.
The Democrats wanted it to involve President Trump directly and lead to his impeachment, that hasn’t happened; but a great deal of clarity has been brought to what actually happened in 2016.
Sputnik: How do you think this report is going to affect the outcome of the next year election? Many have said that the day the report came out on Friday was a wonderful day, one of the best days for the entire Trump presidency. Would you agree with that? Do you see him as having a significant advantage now that this report has made these conclusions?
None of that happened, which was a very good thing for the Trump administration and [it] does sort of clear the way for the President’s re-election campaign in 2020, but that campaign is still very much up in the air.
President Trump has an approval rating of about 41-42 percent and so this will allow him to argue that the cloud that’s hung over his administration for the last two years has been illegitimate and he should be given a great deal more credit for his administration’s accomplishments. We’ll see what the electorate makes of that, but the 2020 election is still very much up in the air; and if you had to talk about an advantage, there was a Democrat advantage up to yesterday.
Whether or not that’s been redressed we’ll have to wait and see.
Sputnik: It’s also interesting, though, we just have this letter right now, the actual report hasn’t been made public; and there’s a very interesting bit of wording and that is that although it has cleared the Trump administration of collusion, it has not exonerated it. What do you make of that?
Cal Jillson: I think there were two main charges that President Trump, his family members and his administration were worried about. One is conspiracy, a direct “quid pro quo” relationship between the Trump campaign and Russia to affect the outcome of the elections. And they have found that that connection didn’t exist; while Russia did involve itself in the 2016 election, it was not at the behest or in direct coordination with the Trump campaign.
There’re lots of facts that suggest obstruction, there’re reasons not to see those facts as a pattern that would be chargeable in the courts as obstruction of justice; and so [Mueller] left it up to the new Attorney General Bill Barr to make that conclusion and Barr said that the evidence was insufficient. But the Democrats will pour into that in congressional hearings and sort that out.
So, while yesterday was a very good day for the Trump administration, all we have is a four-page letter; the Mueller report will have a lot of details, some of which will be very embarrassing to President Trump and his administration; and they’re going to fight to keep some of those under wraps and not allow them to become public.
Sputnik: How high are the chances that this is really over for Trump? I mean, the Democrats are, obviously, still going to try press forward and try to get maximum publication of the report in its entirety. Do you think that we’ll see additional attempts to somehow impeach Donald Trump, or do you think that there could arise any additional legal grounds for that kind of movement? We have heard that, as you said, he hasn’t been exonerated, and there still could be more to this?
Cal Jillson: I think we will not see impeachment.
Nancy Pelosi, who is the speaker of the US House of Representatives and the Democrat leader, has said that unless there was unequivocal, unchallengeable evidence that even the Republicans would agree to, she would not proceed with impeachment. So I don’t think impeachment is on the table.
But there’re all kinds of other inquiries not directly connected to the Mueller inquiry that are still ongoing; the Southern District of New York and its federal prosecutors are looking at several elements of Trump’s business activities, there’re people in the State of New York looking at trump’s charitable foundation activities, and lots of other issues are still to be resolved.
Views and opinions expressed in this article are those of Cal Jillson and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.