He just can’t help himself, can he?
With special counsel Robert Mueller’s report released, it has done nothing to ease the tensions between competing sides on the issue of Russian interference in the 2016 election, or the Trump campaign team’s possible connection to those Russian efforts.
In fact, Mr. Mueller left much up to the interpretation of Congress. This has caused no small amount of distress for those who wanted to see him come down firmly on the side of “guilty” or “not guilty.”
Meanwhile, President Trump’s defenders continue to crow that the report completely exonerates him.
Even the most cursory look over the report disputes that.
Regardless, Trump walks away from this, tattered and battle-worn, but at least the military police will not be dragging him from the White House in chains. It’s a win he should claim and just pipe down about.
But this is Donald Trump. He is not a wise man.
Trump has continued to rage and lash out at the content of the report. He has whined incessantly about the language in the report, obviously not feeling – in spite of previous declarations of complete exoneration – that he is, in fact, completely exonerated.
That’s because he’s not.
As has been pointed out, previously, what Mueller and his team could not determine, conclusively, about conspiracy, or multiple attempts to obstruct the investigation, he largely left open to Congress to determine the next steps.
What may be burning up the Tweeter-in-Chief most today, however, is the suggestion within the second volume of Mueller’s report that outright obstruction was prevented, due to those on the president’s staff who refused to carry out his outlandish requests.
“The President’s efforts to influence the investigation were mostly unsuccessful, but that is largely because the persons who surrounded the President declined to carry out orders or accede to his requests,” the report reads.
One for instance would be White House counsel Don McGahn’s refusal to instruct Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to declare Robert Mueller “conflicted” and to fire him.
It freaked McGahn out, and though he told Trump he’d see what he could do, he did nothing. He knew how badly that would have ended up for everyone.Likewise, he appealed to his former campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, to carry a message to then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions. He wanted him to publicly announce how “unfair” the investigation was to the president, and to call for a meeting with Mueller, where he would tell him he was allowed to investigate Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, but nothing more.
Lewandowski is a rabid Trumpster, but not that rabid. Even he felt uncomfortable with the request, so he passed it on to a senior White House official, Rick Dearborn.
Dearborn, likewise, chose to ignore the request.
Those are only a couple of examples.
Trump is his own worst enemy. He doesn’t even understand that these people did him a favor.
His ego will likely be his downfall.
While addressing the press today, the president channeled his inner-Mussolini.
When it was presented to him that the Mueller report indicated that staffers spared him from an obstruction charge by not carrying out his requests, his response was all bluster, no brains.
“Nobody disobeys my orders,” Trump told reporters outside of the White House at Monday’s Easter Egg Roll.
That’s right, folks. He totally could have obstructed, if he wanted to, because his minions are loyal!
Mueller report says President Trump's "efforts to influence the investigation were mostly unsuccessful" because his aides refused to carry out his orders. https://t.co/BDjoNXiZIs
President Trump says, "Nobody disobeys my orders." pic.twitter.com/zd2bO5Eecp
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) April 22, 2019
Such language does not make him appear tough. It makes him appear petty, and like a would-be tyrant.
For now, we’ll have to watch the legal wrangling of Congress, with Democrats digging in and looking for any new angle they can grab to topple Trump.
With that in mind, however, it should be noted that if he continues with the same attitude, he’ll likely give them plenty to work with before 2020.