The Mueller Report: What’s next for Democrats?

While Republicans rejoice in Barr’s memo of vindication, Democrats are reeling from defeat. Where will they go from here?

Nobody is Above the Law protesters in Columbus, Ohio. (Becker1999/Flickr)

The Special Counsel’s Investigation into whether President Trump colluded with Russia during the 2016 presidential election has finally concluded after two years.

On March 29, 2019, Attorney General William P. Barr released a memo to Congress providing a brief summary of the report, concluding that there was no collusion between Trump, his associates and Russia. Barr went so far as to state that Trump is exonerated since Robert S. Mueller III neither confirmed nor denied possible obstruction of justice.

While Republicans rejoice in Trump’s vindication, Democrats are reeling from defeat after emphasizing the significance of Mueller’s investigation. For two years, we were constantly berated with opposing opinions – Trump has repeatedly called the investigation “a witch hunt,” while Democrats claimed it would reveal Trump’s collusion and obstruction. 

Now that the investigation is complete, what steps do Democrats need to take?

Keep pressing for the report’s full release

In the last page of his memo, Barr states: “my goal and intent is to release as much of the Special Counsel’s report as I can consistent with applicable law, regulations, and Departmental policies.” This means that there may be issues concerning national security, grand jury information, or other information that is protected by privacy laws and executive privilege that cannot legally be released to the public.

Many Democrats, such as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, have called for the full release of Mueller’s report. Barr’s summary was just four pages, while Mueller’s full report is 300 pages. There is a great deal of unknown information on the report, so Democrats can’t entirely give up on it after pursuing it for so long.

Fighting for its full release remains crucial as there may be greater insights than Barr is letting on. However, it’s imperative for Democrats to take a step back and consider just how much pressure to apply and whether they should keep the report’s release on the forefront of their agenda.

The First Page of Barr’s memo.
(William Barr/New York Times)

Move on

For Republicans, the report’s primary findings are a major win, because it invalidates Democrats’ longstanding accusations over Trump’s collusion with Russia. Severe partisanship has created a divide across party lines and has only been worsened by the Mueller Report. As Congress continues to bicker, less time is spent on other matters of importance such as health care, the Green New Deal, the continuing southern border/national emergency disagreement, the federal budget and so on.

New struggles arise every day when it comes to legislation, making it unwise for Democrats to put all their effort into releasing Mueller’s report to the public. Even when the report is released, it won’t suddenly solve all of the Democrats’ problems. Republicans may have a point that it’s time to place our efforts elsewhere, however that doesn’t mean that the report should be entirely forgotten. Politicians like Senator Mitch McConnell delaying the report’s release only creates more suspicions. It is essential for Democrats to find a balance between releasing the report and addressing other issues that directly affect the American people.

Focus on upcoming elections

2020 is steadily approaching, and the fact that the Mueller report indicates no collusion already gives Trump and Republicans a head start. This victory dissipates some of the controversy surrounding Trump and gives him a clearer platform for his 2020 campaign. Even if there’s incriminating evidence in the report, the process of impeachment would last far beyond 2020.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has previously stated in a Washington Post interview that she’s against impeachment: “I don’t think we should go down that path, because it divides the country. And he’s just not worth it.” Taking her lead, Democrats must now focus on consolidating their base of support and electing a candidate that can go toe-to-toe with President Trump. With the vast array of potential candidates, the diluted Democratic party has a lot of work to do in terms of strategy and popularity.

Motivating and mobilizing people to get out and vote is perhaps the most essential goal during campaigning. More effort needs to be devoted to swing states as well as developing a geographic strategy when it comes to winning electoral votes. Continuing to work on the report’s release, addressing critical issues and preparing for 2020 should be the Democrats’ top priority.

See Barr’s full report here.

Follow Faith on Twitter @Faith_doza.

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