Truth isn’t truth — why our brains can sometimes accept lies
Judd Gregg: Please finish it, Mr. Mueller
This is a time of extreme acrimony in American politics.
The lack of civility has evolved to a point where simple acts of governing are becoming the exception.
This is not healthy for any nation. But it is especially unfortunate for the world's greatest and most successful democracy.
There are, however, things that can and should be done to reduce the fierceness of the atmosphere that pervades our governing bodies.
The folks who lead our country need to move towards a functioning level of governing.
Since the day Donald Trump won the presidency, some in the opposition and the media have asserted that his victory was illegitimate.
The essence of the case is that somehow he or members of his immediate campaign circle colluded with the Russians to undermine the campaign of his opponent, Hillary Clinton.
In order to investigate this allegation and determine whether such events actually occurred, Robert Mueller was called in as a special counsel.
The Mueller investigation has now been going on for more than 15 months.
Mueller, a former director of the FBI, is an honest broker. There is no doubting his integrity.
But, and this is the big 'but' that must be addressed, no government can effectively govern when the major elements of it - in this case the president, the Congress and the leaders of both parties and their followers - are absorbed by such an investigation.
It was inevitable that this investigation would draw constant attention and spark political upheaval.
This is a given when such grave allegations are made.
However, there needs to be closure. A conclusion needs to be reached.
We are now facing more of this uncertainty, and the intense polarization that it has engendered. This is bad for the nation.
The presidency has been turned into a sideshow of superficial tweets.
The opposition blasts out a barrage of coarse attacks, abandoning the concept of putting forward policy ideas.
It feels as if there is no governing occurring in Washington. Anger and outrage dominate each day.
This atmosphere will not end if Mueller finishes his investigation and delivers his report.
In fact, it may intensify if the Democrats take control of the House of Representatives and move, as their leadership has suggested they might, to impeachment proceedings.
However, even such an undertaking will at least involve movement. It will allow the people to assess the appropriateness of the direction being pursued.
The point is that we need to move.
The acrimony caused by the unknown - the state of limbo that Mueller's investigation has brought forth - has gone on long enough.
There needs to be an end to it. The nation's government needs to move on. We need to get the election of 2016 behind us.
Mueller may feel that he is being thorough in pursuing his directive. It is this requirement that causes him to take this extended time.
He understandably does not want his conclusions to be seen as having been reached in a precipitous manner.
But he and his team also have a higher duty. They should be aware of the great harm the uncertainty of his lengthy investigation is causing the nation.
It is true that under Justice Department guidelines, Mueller should remain in a black-out status through the election. But on November 7, this ends.
He has had enough time to get to a clear conclusion.
Mueller should give the nation a break, and call it a day.
It's time for him to tell us what he has found out. And let the governing begin again.
Judd Gregg (R) is a former governor and three-term senator from New Hampshire who served as chairman and ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee, and as ranking member of the Senate Appropriations Foreign Operations subcommittee.