GP Short Notes

GP Short Notes # 109, 27 July 2019

Muller Testimony does not provide much but divides the Democrats on further action
Aparupa Bhattacherjee

What happened?
The special counsel Robert Mueller during his hearing in front of the Congress this week has rejected the charges of exoneration on President Donald Trump. He stated that he had not exonerated Mr Trump of obstruction of justice. 

Apart from ‘what’ Mueller spoke, there was much discussion on ‘how’ he spoke. As described by several he appeared to be apprehensive, ‘dodder’ and ‘donnish’. Also, while answering the questions during the hearing, he strictly remained confined to his 448-page report. 

Trump, evidently happy with this proceeding, tweeted that it was a great day for him. 

What is the background?
In his report, Mueller has concluded that Russia had interfered in the 2016 American Presidential election in order to provide leverage to Mr Trump's campaign. Concerning this allegation against Russian interference, a total of three companies and 35 people have been charged. However, the list does not include any member of the Trump family. Among the 35 people, White House Counsel Don McGahn name is also included, against whom the Democrats have decided to move to Court in order to request enforcement of Subpoena. 

This report titled "Report on the Investigation into Russian Interference in the 2016 Presidential Election" highlighted Russian interference in the 2016 Presidential election. It also investigated the role of Donald Trump in conspiracy or any coordination between him and Russia. 

A special court has been investigating since 1 May 2017, leading to the charges against the 35 people and three companies. On 22 March 2019, the Muller report was submitted to Attorney General William Barr and in April 2019 was made public by Department of Justice (DOJ). 

What does it mean?
The Mueller report highlights two polarisations. One, between the Republic and the Democrats; the latter wants to make the report as the basis for an impeachment procedure against Trump. Second is the difference between the Congress and White House. 

On 8 May, Trump retained redactions and its supporting material under his temporary "protective assertion" of executive privilege preventing the Congress to pass the material. This divided the Congress and the White House, which is rare in American political history. 

Mueller's testimony is likely to divide the Democrats and provide more confidence to Trump. For the Democrats, Mueller's testimony has been a disappointment. They were hopeful of initiating an impeachment process against Trump. The Democratic Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who was a strong advocate of Trump’s impeachment, took steps back after the testimony by Mueller. Now, a section of the Democrats believes they cannot move with the impeachment any more. Disagreeing to this view, another section still wants to go ahead with the impeachment request. 

The testimony, however, is going to enhance Trump's confidence. This is going to shape American politics further.