Mueller and Trump star in a Shakespearean drama that grips US

Mueller and Trump star in a Shakespearean drama that grips US
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Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE and Donald Trump are joined, along with every American, in a gripping Shakespearean drama that will powerfully impact the future of America. 

Special counsel Mueller, a hero during the Vietnam War who is now leading the investigation of the Russian attack against American democracy, and President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump nominates ambassador to Turkey Trump heads to Mar-a-Lago after signing bill to avert shutdown CNN, MSNBC to air ad turned down by Fox over Nazi imagery MORE, who was decidedly not a hero during the Vietnam War and is not leading the fight against the Russian attack against America, are the star protagonists in an epic drama that will change the course of history.

In “As You Like It," William Shakespeare wrote, “All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players.”


In the great democratic drama that is now unfolding, Trump is a player, Mueller is a player and all Americans are players every time we answer a question in a poll, exercise our right to vote or ask our representatives in Washington hard questions at town meetings.


It is possible that Mueller indicts Trump for one or more criminal offenses. It is possible he does not indict Trump but sends a detailed report to Congress that would justify impeachment, whether House Republicans respect these findings or not. 

It is also possible that Mueller clears Trump, telling that nation that no offense was committed by the president, which would give his presidency a significant boost.

Ernest Hemingway advised writers to write one true sentence. One true sentence about Mueller is that he will make his decisions based on the facts, the truth and the law, whether they lead to innocence or guilt.

One true sentence about Trump is that persistent reports suggest his lawyers are advising him to not testify before Mueller because they fear he would be caught telling a lie, which would be a crime.

Sunday, the Washington Post ran a front-page story that discussed at length how Mueller and Trump both grew up with privileged backgrounds but ended up in very different places, having made vastly different choices. 

Mueller is the epitome of the ethic of duty, honor and country in public service. He is a pillar of integrity and justice in public life.

Like others of his generation, such as Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainMark Kelly's campaign raises over M in days after launching Senate bid The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by Kidney Care Partners — Lawmakers wait for Trump's next move on border deal Mark Kelly launches Senate bid in Arizona MORE (R-Ariz.) and former Secretary of State John KerryJohn Forbes KerryWarren taps longtime aide as 2020 campaign manager In Virginia, due process should count more than blind team support Trump will give State of Union to sea of opponents MORE, Mueller could have began his career living comfortably after a first-rate education but chose, instead, to risk his life serving our country. He continued his service with a brilliant and honorable career in public life.

Trump, by contrast, throughout his career, appears to have asked himself one question: “What’s in it for me?” One of the most dastardly things Trump ever said was in response to the question of whether McCain is a hero. He said he prefers troops who were never captured.

In the Shakespearean drama that is unfolding today, Americans are gripped by regular news of Mueller achieving more indictments, plea bargains and evidence about the scandal of the Russian attack against America that continues today. 

In the Shakespearean drama that is unfolding, a Russian dictator continues his attack against American democracy and now aims to corrupt our midterm elections. Meanwhile, the special counsel continues his investigation, and the American president stands by idly, at best, and fearful of the truth, at worst.

In an upcoming scene of this Shakespearean drama, the president will agree to testify before the special counsel or, more likely, will be compelled by subpoena to testify under oath before a grand jury without his lawyers president.  

In another upcoming scene in this Shakespearean drama, the president may try again to fire another prosecutor who is investigating the Russian crimes or pardon those guilty or suspected of being a party to them.

In yet another future scene reminiscent of Macbeth, the president will again spew venom against his presidential predecessors while his allies in Congress continue their attacks against the FBI or the special counsel who believes in duty, honor and country. 

This will force every Republican to take a stand on a defining issue of the 21st century, i.e., whether a foreign dictator should have the power to use covert means to choose America’s leaders.

In this Shakespearean drama, the leaders of our intelligence and law enforcement agencies are virtually pleading with the president to lead the nation, but they are met with presidential eyes that do not see and ears that do not hear the facts about the foreign attack against us.

How will this Shakespearean drama end? Most likely when the special counsel achieves the words that Shakespeare wrote in the Merchant of Venice, wherever they may lead: “truth will out.”

Brent Budowsky was an aide to former Sen. Lloyd Bentsen (D-Texas) and former Rep. Bill Alexander (D-Ark.), who was chief deputy majority whip of the U.S. House of Representatives. He holds an LLM in international financial law from the London School of Economics.