by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Is it more meaningful that Trump wanted to fire Mueller, or that the special counsel’s work has continued apace for the past six months, with indictments, guilty pleas, and extensive interviews of White House officials? Surely it is the latter, but Trump’s critics argue that his withdrawn directive establishes motive in a prospective obstruction-of-justice case.
What it establishes is what we already knew: Trump hates the investigation and everyone associated with it. He considers the FBI officials who have been central to the probe politically compromised hatchet men. He disdains his own attorney general, Jeff Sessions, for recusing himself from the matter and has no use for Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, either.
We don’t need an investigation to know any of this, because Trump advertises it all the time. What else is his Twitter feed for?
What we don’t know, at least with certainty, is what’s behind Trump’s animus. It’s one thing if he hatched a high-level conspiracy with the Russians during the election that he’s ham-handedly trying to cover up; it is another if he knows there was no such conspiracy and believes the investigation is, as he repeatedly says, “a witch hunt.”
This is why it makes no sense for Democrats and the press to blow right by collusion — compelling evidence of which has not yet emerged — to obsess with alleged obstruction instead. If there was no collusion, it is doubtful that Trump has the corrupt motive necessary to make an impeachable obstruction-of-justice case against him.