You know how most every year there’s drama in the early rounds of the NCAA Tournament – big upsets and at least one underdog school high-stepping it to the Sweet 16? It’s great entertainment. It’s good TV, even though we know that most every year, the teams that are actually ranked in the Top 25 are the teams that inevitably end up playing for the title.
It’s like that with the Donald Trump investigation.
A reminder, America: Ignore the drama. Ignore the politics. Wait for Robert Mueller.
Late Monday, the Washington Post reported that Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee are drafting a report that says they’ve found no evidence that the president or his campaign colluded with Russian officials to sway the 2016 election. The leading Democrat on that committee, Rep. Adam Schiff of California, said that no such conclusions are valid and that the Republican report was a “capitulation to the White House.”
Guess which side the man in the White House took?
Despite all those capital letters, we don’t know at this point if the president or his campaign participated in activities that rise to the level of collusion. There’s certainly a lot of smoke – including a 2016 Trump Tower meeting with Russians and a new report Tuesday that Trump advisor Roger Stone claimed he had contact with Wikileaks founder Julian Assange about Hillary Clinton campaign emails that likely came from Russian sources. Others point to the president’s behavior as a tell – his firing of FBI Director James Comey and “witch hunt” rants on Twitter seem like the behavior of a man who has something to hide.
Or perhaps that’s the frustration of someone who knows he’s innocent. We don’t know.
What we do know is that the House Intelligence Committee rendered itself worthless weeks ago when Republican members released the “blockbuster” memo alleging the FBI launched the Russia investigation under false pretenses. The memo turned out to be an inaccurate, incomplete dud that undermined only the Intelligence Committee itself. Nothing that comes from the committee, including a conclusion that Trump is collusion-free, is credible.
The only person who can tell us what truly happened – or didn’t – is the person who’s told us little to this point. Americans should be encouraged that on the few occasions Mueller has revealed the fruits of his investigation – most notably with indictments of 13 Russians for attempting to subvert the 2016 election – those who thought they were in the know realized how little they actually knew about the depth and breadth of the special prosecutor’s work.
We believe that ultimately, Mueller’s thoroughness will be conclusive and persuasive, at least to most Americans. He will either connect the incriminating dots surrounding the 2016 election, or if not, we will have the comfort of knowing that no investigative stone was left unturned. Until then, it’s mostly just drama. It’s politics. Wait.