The Mueller report, when it is finally released, may reveal very little when it comes to information about Donald Trump that Congress can actually act upon, writes law professor Andrew Coan in a CNN op-ed piece. If that happens, it’s a contingency that neither Democrats and Republicans are likely to have prepared themselves for.
For almost a year now, it’s been gospel amongst Democrats — and a quiet fear held by many Republicans — that the final Mueller report is going to ensnare Donald Trump in one way or another. The ever-expanding list of indictments, convictions, and prison sentences of people associated with Donald Trump seems to be pointing in that direction.
But, says the University of Arizona law professor, Mueller is, in many ways, steering his legal ship into uncharted territory. The outcome of his investigation may not necessarily spell doom for Trump.
“Many of the possible crimes he is investigating turn on questions of intent that are legally murky and notoriously difficult to prove.”
Or to put it more simply, says Coan, when all is said and done the Mueller investigation may well end “with a whimper, rather than a bang.”
It stands to reason that in this scenario, Democrats would be crestfallen — deprived of a bogeyman against which to advance their agenda. Similarly, Republicans would be gleeful that their man has finally been cleared.
But Coan opines that neither of those would be the right response.
For the Republicans, a final Mueller report that fails to directly tie the president to any crimes is not a vindication of their man.
“At most, it will establish that he is probably not a criminal — at least so far as Russian election meddling is concerned.”
It won’t, however, indicate that the entire thing was a witch hunt or a waste of time. As Coan explains, the purpose of any investigation is to find answers, and already the investigation has produced plenty of answers. Those answers have come in the form of the indictments, convictions, and prison sentences mentioned earlier in this article.
What’s more, that the investigation was allowed to be completed at all would be something of a loss in Trump’s column, as he’s made no secret that he’d shut it down if he could.
Which brings up how the Democrats could call it a victory, even a seemingly-hollow one.
“If Mueller succeeds in completing such an investigation, the rule of law will have prevailed, whatever the result. That is something to celebrate.”
It remains unclear, as of this writing, when the final Mueller report will be released.