For the past two years, President TrumpDonald TrumpYoungkin ad features mother who pushed to have 'Beloved' banned from son's curriculum White House rejects latest Trump claim of executive privilege Democrats say GOP lawmakers implicated in Jan. 6 should be expelled MORE’s political enemies, most of them liberal Democrats, and their all-too-willing allies in the media have been salivating over what would be in the final report of special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerSenate Democrats urge Garland not to fight court order to release Trump obstruction memo Why a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG Barr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel MORE.
They were convinced beyond all doubt that President Trump and his campaign team had colluded with Russian agents to steal the 2016 election. How else could Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonSuper PACs release ad campaign hitting Vance over past comments on Trump I voted for Trump in 2020 — he proved to be the ultimate RINO in 2021 Neera Tanden tapped as White House staff secretary MORE possibly have lost?
According to folks ranging from Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Reps. Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffAll eyes on Garland after Bannon contempt vote House votes to hold Bannon in contempt of Congress The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Altria - Manchin heatedly dismisses rumors of leaving Democratic Party MORE (D-Calif.) and Jerrold NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerAll eyes on Garland after Bannon contempt vote Photos of the Week: Manchin protestor, Paris Hilton and a mirror room Fight breaks out between Jordan, Nadler over rules about showing video at Garland hearing MORE (D-N.Y.) to a host of talking heads on CNN and MSNBC, there were “mountains of evidence” that Trump & Co. had colluded with the Russian government to subvert the will of the American people.
Mueller, they opined, was the paragon of truth, justice and the prosecutorial way, and his all-star team of investigators and prosecutors would unearth this evidence. Indictments would fly to the president’s confidantes. Impeachment would hang over Trump.
Their constant pronouncements are well chronicled. There are enough video clips of sanctimonious rantings by these folks to fill an archival battleship. They clung to the belief that Mueller would deliver Donald Trump’s head on a platter. They were ready for the feast.
But a funny thing happened a couple of weeks ago. Some of the less bombastic on the left side began quietly to hedge their bets. Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiDemocrats face critical 72 hours Equilibrium/Sustainability — Presented by Southern Company — 'Too late to evacuate' after wildfire debris Greene fined a third time for refusing to wear mask on House floor MORE (D-Calif.) walked away from pressing for impeachment. They seemed to know that what would be forthcoming wouldn’t be exactly to their liking.
A bitter dish was served when Mueller sent his report to the attorney general. The conspiracy theorists went into shock. Far from being described as a Russian agent with a scathing bill of particulars, backed up by scores of indictments of his family members and political allies, President Trump was vindicated.
There was no evidence of collusion. None.
The entire sordid saga had been built upon their premise that Russian collusion with Team Trump had taken the election out of the hands of the American people and delivered an ill-gotten victory to the now leader of the free world.
But there was no evidence of that, Attorney General William BarrBill BarrMeadows hires former deputy AG to represent him in Jan. 6 probe: report Why it's time for conservatives to accept the 2020 election results and move on Bannon's subpoena snub sets up big decision for Biden DOJ MORE said in his summary of the report. It was not merely that there wasn’t enough evidence to convict; there was no evidence at all.
That simple conclusion should have made every American happy. Despite the fact that the Russians meddled in our election, they failed to get anyone connected with the Trump campaign to participate in that and the integrity of our most basic institution was preserved.
Unfortunately, the Mueller report won’t end the rancor, divisiveness, endless speculation and conspiracy theorizing that have marked the past 26 months.
It should end the Russian conspiracy and collusion charges and countercharges, but it won’t. Schiff, Nadler, Sen. Chuck SchumerChuck SchumerSenators weigh future of methane fee in spending bill Biden hopes for deal on economic agenda before Europe trip The Senate is setting a dangerous precedent with Iron Dome funding MORE (D-N.Y.) and others are hell-bent on continuing the investigation.
Nadler was busy sending out more than 80 letters looking for more investigative material at the same time he knew Mueller’s report was about to be delivered. He’s been baiting his hook for another fishing expedition ever since.
Never mind that Mueller had a crack team of almost 20 top shelf lawyers, 40 FBI agents, intelligence analysts, forensic accountants and other investigation experts, or that his crew issued more than 2,800 subpoenas, executed nearly 500 search warrants and interviewed hundreds of witnesses over 22 months — before concluding there was no evidence of collusion between Trump or anyone associated with his campaign and the Russian government. Nadler and Schiff would like us to believe they’ll get to the bottom of this in less time than it took the special counsel.
Schiff and Nadler will be back in the minority in less time than it took Mueller. The American people are ready to move on. Several polls suggest that most folks are more concerned about the things that directly affect their lives than the Trump-Russia narrative.
Collusion conspiracy fatigue may just be setting in, but it’s real. With it comes a real political advantage for President Trump and his re-election effort.
Congressional Democrats now say they want not only the full Mueller report, but all of the underlying documentation. They know that includes classified material and grand jury testimony that is kept secret by law.
Nobody, including the president, has objected to the release of the report. Nadler and Schiff will then pick the fly poop out of the pepper, taking what specks of dirt are bound to be in the report and magnifying them exponentially.
The problem for them is that few will listen. Ordinary folks aren’t champing at the bit for the chance to read 800 pages of Mueller’s findings. They get it. The “executive summary” is more than enough for them.
The dog-with-a-bone mentality that has marked the left’s obsessive theorizing about collusion won’t help heal the wounds that have been inflicted, or help us move forward. It won’t help them politically, either.
They never understood what happened in 2016. They still can’t come to grips with it. Their continued overreaches in trying to create alternative explanations for the obvious haven’t worked. The next set of charges they come up with, after failing to show any of the “mountain of evidence” of collusion they had, will sound very much like the boy who cried “wolf.”
Trump will do best to focus on issues the American people care about — the economy, things that will make their children’s futures better than theirs, and safety and security. Most Democrats ran on kitchen-table issues in 2018. The quest by Schiff, Nadler, Schumer and Pelosi to take the focus elsewhere isn’t where their voters want them to be.
As the Democrats were retaking the majority on election night, the former governor of Pennsylvania, Ed Rendell, a former Democratic National Committee chairman as well, offered his party some advice. He told them to focus on three words — legislate, legislate and legislate — and to avoid three others: investigate, investigate and investigate.
Sadly, for the nation and for his party, it appears Rendell’s advice will go unheeded. Democrats will continue, undeterred by the Mueller report they once were poised to praise, with a continuing series of accusations and investigations.
With that they’ll move even further away from the voters they need in 2020.
Charlie Gerow, first vice chairman of the American Conservative Union, has held national leadership positions in several Republican presidential campaigns. He began his career on the campaign staff of Ronald Reagan. A nationally recognized expert in strategic communications, he is CEO of Quantum Communications, a Pennsylvania-based media relations and issue advocacy firm. Follow him on Twitter @Charlie_Gerow.