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So the Mueller report is done and until and unless it is released to the public we will be left with a plethora of unanswered questions. So the saga continues amidst premature exhalations of exoneration from the White House and Republican quarters and a quest for clarification on many issues, particularly surrounding obstruction of justice.

Mueller Done

Three weeks ago I wrote an article cautioning opponents of the President to prepare for a report that would be inconclusive. And now we have exactly that if you believe the synopsis hastily put together by the Attorney General. So the real issue moving forward is to encourage Congress to pursue a course of investigation that will allow them to move into areas beyond the restrictive bounds that limited the Special Counsel.

While I can already hear the screams of indignant Trump partisans that the case is closed and further pursuit of the truth is neither needed nor desired I simply say, not so fast.

And while I can already hear the screams of indignant Trump partisans that the case is closed and further pursuit of the truth is neither needed nor desired I simply say, not so fast. While the Mueller imprimatur was twisted by the President as being overtly political, referencing the angry Democrats mantra he used to denigrate the impartiality of the Special Counsel investigators, I have cautioned the following from my March 5 column:

“Mueller is a lifelong Republican, McCain was a solid conservative, Comey almost single-handedly shifted the 2016 Presidential election momentum towards Trump in the closing days, Mattis, McMaster, and Kelly were all generals, McCabe is a lifelong Republican, Collins caved on Kavanaugh, Dan Coates was a conservative US Senator from Indiana, and Mike Pence is as slippery as an eel and an evangelical religious zealot.”

So while where we stand currently is not the worst of all places, it is a setback. The practical implications of the Attorney General’s characterization of the findings of the Mueller report are to proceed under the age-old political tactic of “kicking the can down the road," a process that is predicated on the notion that delay is the ultimate distraction.They are essentially buying time in hopes that the short attention span of the American electorate will put the issue to bed. Yes, we have moved from a relatively clinical investigative environment to a supercharged political arena, but for better or worse that is the nature of our representative democratic system.

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Many will be dazed and confused by what has just happened. We are currently living in a surreal parallel universe where the oft-misquoted Chico Marx from the 1933 movie “Duck Soup” “Who ya gonna believe me or your own eyes” seems to be the operative explanation to combat the obvious. But those of us who have steadfastly cautioned skeptics to trust the Special Counsel to conduct an exhaustive and thorough investigation are not afforded the luxury to reverse course and now excoriate either the individual or the process. There was a reason why Bill Barr was hired. Did anyone really think that the issue of loyalty to the President was neither talked about during the interview process or avoided with a wink and a nod?

What is of serious concern is the extent to which the process has been perverted or will be perverted by the current Attorney General to quash the pursuit of discovering exactly what has transpired through a process that was narrow and now is free to go in a more expansive direction. So I offer still that it is incumbent upon Congress to follow evidence that will render a conclusive and definitive end to this sorry saga once and for all. Whether that will lead to articles of impeachment is anybody’s guess but it is the responsibility of Congress to do what the Special Counsel was either prohibited from doing or Attorney General is currently unwilling to do.

As we move forward to 2020 it is critically important that we not allow the pursuit of justice blind us from dealing with those issues that are seminally important to average American families and workers.

Health care, climate change, income inequality, immigration reform, racism, voter suppression, gerrymandering, and the corrupt influence of monied interests in our political and economic system are just a sampling of issues that worry Americans and fuel the cynicism and anger that afflicts our elected leaders and institutions.

So take heart fellow progressives and liberals, we are now entering an era where the stakes for our future tilt perilously out of balance with the principles that lie at the foundation of our existence. The false narrative emanating from the White House currently will find a receptive audience among those who are indescribably wedded to a President who is incapable of distinguishing between truth and falsehoods. Let us continue the fight to ensure that what we see with our own eyes is not an illusion.

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Lance Simmens