Mueller's investigation ends, but divisive political circus will continue

From the day President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump says he will 'temporarily hold off' on declaring Mexican drug cartels as terror organization House Judiciary Committee formally receives impeachment report Artist behind gold toilet offered to Trump sells banana duct-taped to a wall for 0,000 MORE was elected, Democrats embarked on a nonstop campaign to remove him from office. They decided he must go — but what was missing was a valid reason and evidence. Then Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerTrump says he'll release financial records before election, knocks Dems' efforts House impeachment hearings: The witch hunt continues Speier says impeachment inquiry shows 'very strong case of bribery' by Trump MORE was appointed as special counsel to investigate the Trump campaign, and Trump’s foes believed they had their “golden ticket.”

Well, today, Democrats are in mourning.

They banked on the Mueller investigation providing all the ammunition they would need to initiate immediate impeachment proceedings in the House and emboldening enough Senate Republicans to remove the 45th president of the United States for the “high crimes and misdemeanors” of criminally conspiring with Russians to influence the 2016 presidential election.

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Yet, within an hour of the Mueller report being delivered this afternoon to the Department of Justice (DOJ), at least one DOJ source was quoted as saying that the special counsel was not recommending any further indictments of individuals. Another report indicated that there were no unsealed indictments in hand.

This, following 675 days of investigation by Mueller and nearly a year of investigation by FBI officials even before Mueller took over. 

On May 17, 2017, Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod RosensteinRosenstein, Sessions discussed firing Comey in late 2016 or early 2017: FBI notes Justice Dept releases another round of summaries from Mueller probe Judge rules former WH counsel McGahn must testify under subpoena MORE appointed former FBI director Robert Mueller as the special counsel, with the sole purpose of overseeing an investigation into whether Russian tampering in the 2016 presidential election involved a coordinated conspiracy with Americans and, specifically, the Trump presidential campaign. Rosenstein decided to appoint a special counsel after Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsThe shifting impeachment positions of Jonathan Turley Rosenstein, Sessions discussed firing Comey in late 2016 or early 2017: FBI notes Justice Dept releases another round of summaries from Mueller probe MORE recused himself from involvement in any oversight of a 2016 election criminal conspiracy investigation.

A special counsel operates within the chain of command of the Department of Justice but enjoys broad powers to independently investigate matters within his charge. The main focus and responsibility of the Mueller investigation was to determine whether or not there was a criminal conspiracy by Russians and Americans to influence the election’s outcome.

Now it appears very likely that Mueller conclusively found no criminal conspiracy — collusion — by any American, including but not limited to those associated with the Trump 2016 campaign to influence the election’s outcome by Russian interference. A conspiracy needs more than one, and no one else has been charged.

Although there is no doubt the Russian government meddled in the election, they did so to no substantive effect and without American criminality.

Those caught up in criminal liability during the course of this investigation were involved in matters that were totally unrelated to Mueller’s underlying charge of investigating a Russian criminal conspiracy. The crimes that Mueller has prosecuted were crimes personal to the defendants, not a result of their relationships or official duties with the Trump presidential campaign or Russian election interference.

Thus, the Mueller investigation undoubtedly will turn out to be a bust for Democrats. President Trump and his campaign are highly likely to be vindicated; there will be no guilt-by-association. The fact that a few political operatives either were found guilty or pleaded to crimes unrelated to the underlying main focus of the investigation is totally irrelevant to establishing just cause to remove a president.

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The fact that Mueller is likely to have cleared the president and his 2016 campaign from criminal liability will not stop Democrats from their mission to remove the president, however. They will simply pivot to other conspiracy theories. I suspect the first of those will be “obstruction of justice.” That is a theory which will not pan out, however, because the president has broad powers to run the executive branch, including the hiring and firing of subordinates as he sees fit; he can hire and fire for any reason, or none at all. Nevertheless, Democrats remain rabid to convict without regard to cause, evidence or culpability.

The fact that the president allowed Mueller to proceed with his investigation without interference, and to its conclusion, is proof that he did not obstruct justice and did not act beyond his  constitutional authority, express or implied. The attorney general found this to be so and stated as much in his letter to Congress, notifying it of the conclusion of the Mueller investigation.

The American people are fed up with endless, baseless investigations. Democrats have attacked the president every day for the past two-plus years citing “collusion.” At the same time, Democrats themselves did not allow Mueller to investigate without attempted undue outside influence — through House hearings, media interviews, op-eds, fundraising and every other trick in the political book. In effect, the only real collusion and conspiracy here involve Democrats who seek the removal of a president merely because he beat them at their own game.

Democrats’ new-found majority in the House will be fleeting if they continue to harass and obstruct. Their visceral hate for the president has clouded their judgment and hijacked their party.

Now, the Justice Department must follow the rules and ignore the mob over what should be released to the public with regard to the Mueller report, despite Democrats wanting to mask the underlying findings and spin the report in ways that are unfair and inaccurate.

Democrats need to face the reality that the only chance they have to beat Trump is at the ballot box. And, in order to be successful at that, they must have policies that do not rely on mere propaganda.

It is not enough to be against someone. You have to stand for something.

Bradley Blakeman was a deputy assistant to President George W. Bush from 2001 to 2004. A principal of the 1600 Group, a strategic communications firm, he is an adjunct professor of public policy and international affairs at Georgetown University and a contributor to Fox News and Fox Business.