Mueller’s done, and Dems should be too — because Trump is no Nixon

The walls were not coming down. They were not closing in. There was, at the end of the day, no evidence whatsoever of any collusion — and there was nothing but a president frustrated at being wrongly accused and wrongly investigated over a very effective hoax.

Most people don’t understand what it is to not only be personally investigated for something you didn’t do but also have your friends, family members and associates placed in legal jeopardy over it. Special counsel Robert Mueller’s team systematically targeted the people around the president, squeezing them like lemons, indicting them on mostly process crimes created by the investigation itself. They reviewed everyone’s emails, text messages, phone calls, bank statements — and yet their conclusion on collusion was clear and definitive. It has to be believed.

{mosads}I was there working with former President Clinton in 1998 when he pondered whether to send missiles against Osama bin Laden but was concerned it would be viewed as “wagging the dog.” We missed bin Laden that day. It was symbolic of how everything in the White House was affected by the Monica Lewinsky investigation; it changed everything we did. And, yes, there was a good bit of cursing then, too.

The big difference between today and what happened in 1998 or during the Nixon era is that, at the end of the day, the Mueller investigators found no stained dress, no break-in, no hush money, no enemies list. There never was a crime, and what seemed far-fetched was simply that — this time, a duly elected president was investigated for a crime that never even existed. In fact, evidence is mounting that the investigation itself was launched on phony grounds.

And so, the screaming partisan antics of Democrats in the House are likely to set the Democratic Party back a decade if they do not get a grip on themselves. In partisan unison, with scripted talking points, they keep calling everyone else “partisan.” It simply does not pass the laugh test at this point.

But the problem is that Reps. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) and Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) are congressmen from safe districts who are nobodies if they have no investigations to launch. It’s in the interest of their egos to keep it all going so that they can have daily press availabilities. And they are whipping up their political bases. It will take some Democrats of courage to turn this off and stop the abuse of going after the president’s financial records. These are the kinds of things Nixon was doing, and there is no justification for those in Congress to be doing exactly those things for which Nixon resigned from office — going after his political enemies.

As I predicted in earlier columns, the Mueller report was always going to try to paint a picture of obstruction of justice. It was a lot weaker than I thought it would be because the alleged acts of obstruction are nothing more than acts the president could have legally taken or ordered. While talking a tough game publicly and brooding in private, the president and his legal team gave unprecedented access to White House documents and personnel.

In fact, the event that triggered the appointment of the special counsel — the firing of former FBI Director James Comey — didn’t even merit much discussion in the report, raising again the question of why there ever was a Mueller investigation whose focus was Trump and his campaign.

{mossecondads}Even if you believe Mueller should have been appointed given the swirl of questions kicked up about Russia, Volume 2 of the Mueller report should not exist at all, once investigators determined there was no collusion and they were not issuing any charges. Most likely, it was a compromise by Mueller with his aggressive prosecutors, including former Clinton counsel, to get agreement on the report and its strong language on the lack of collusion. It was a bone for the Democrats that was unfortunate, as it would have been much better for the country had they simply said that a bewildered president contemplated some strong actions but, in fact, did nothing to impede the investigation. If anything, he waived executive privileges over witnesses and documents that other presidents have routinely asserted.

It’s time for Democrats and the country to move past the Russia collusion narrative and for the media to fess up. If we are not going to respect the outcome of the Mueller report, then what was the point of the whole exercise? They found no collusion, and they did not charge obstruction.

The cloud under which the president and his associates have lived for more than two years deserves to be lifted. The officials who launched this aborted investigation should be held accountable for their actions. And the country deserves a Congress focused not on investigations but on issues such as health care, infrastructure and immigration.

Mark Penn is a managing partner of the Stagwell Group, a private equity firm specializing in marketing services companies, as well as chairman of the Harris Poll and author of “Microtrends Squared.” He also is CEO of MDC Partners, an advertising and marketing firm. He served as pollster and adviser to President Clinton from 1995 to 2000, including during Clinton’s impeachment. You can follow him on Twitter @Mark_Penn.

Tags Adam Schiff Bill Clinton Donald Trump James Comey Jerrold Nadler Mueller investigation Reactions to Mueller report Richard Nixon Robert Mueller Robert Mueller Special Counsel investigation

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