Polarization in the U.S. intensifies

Long before Mueller began his investigation, I was concerned about the increased polarization occurring in our country. This polarization has intensified as many choose their corners and reinforce their positions by selectively listening to news that reports what they already believe.

I read Attorney General Barr’s four page summary of the Mueller report, as well as the Advertiser-Tribune’s editorial on the Mueller report published April 20, 2019.

In school, I was required to cite multiple sources when forming an opinion to write a paper, so I felt compelled to read the Mueller report myself (https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/politics-news/read-text-full-mueller-report-n994551).

After reading the report, I came away with very different conclusions and concerns from both Barr’s summary and the AT’s editorial. First and foremost, on page 1 of Volume I, the Special Counsel’s investigation established that Russia did interfere in the 2016 presidential election. I was struck by the amount of overwhelming evidence that Russian operatives acked American computers. According to further evidence, this is only the tip of the iceberg of a very comprehensive Russian strategy to influence US elections and sow discord to undermine our country. What are we doing to stop Russian, amd likely other countries’, interference in our 2020 election? We must confront the reality that this intrusion happened and act with urgency to prevent it from happening again.

In Volume II, the report identifies then potential instances of obstruction, which I found extremely disturbing. Mueller explained that he was bound by Office of Legal Counsel policy which asserts a sitting president cannont be indicted, and therefore did not present these instances as grounds for indicments. On page 220, the report states, “if we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the fatcs that the President clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state. Based on the facts and the applicable legal standards, however, we are unable to reach that judgement.” Mueller further states ” The conclusion that Congress may apply the obstruction laws to President’s corrupt exercise of the powers of office accords with our constitutional system of checks and balances and the principle that no person is above the law.”

Since the Mueller report came out, more than 1000 former federal prosecuters, have signed a ltter (medium.com/@dojalumni/statement-by-former-federal-prosecuters-8ab7691c2aa1) stating that they believe “that the conduct of President Trump described in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report wound, in the case of any other person not covered by the Office of Legal Counsel policy against indicting a sitting president, result in multiple felony charges of obstruction of justice.”

We are fortunate in our democracy to have access to the Mueller report and the original documents. I hope all of us will look to these and multiple sources to inform our opinions, so that we can engage in thoughful and productive conversations with one another.

Char Pope