Do you remember the classic movie, The Manchurian Candidate, staring Laurence Harvey? It was released in 1962, which may have come before your time. It is a tale about secrecy and intrigue—of how a foreign power conspired to place their handpicked person in line to become President of the United States. Does the plot sound familiar?
Metaphorically, is President Trump the Manchurian candidate? That is the question Mueller was charged with investigating. Mueller has now finished his report, and he has given additional testimony before the House of Representatives. What are the facts that can be gleaned from Mueller’s Report? (1) The Russians were involved in trying to sway the 2016 election in a massive and systematic way. They used a variety of media, often posing as American citizens. (2) The Russians favored Trump over Clinton. Putin hated Clinton because she had supported dissidents against him in the recent past. (3) The Trump campaign welcomed Russian support during the campaign. There were at least 150 contacts made between the Russians and persons serving in the Trump campaign. (4) Obama had placed sanctions on Russia selling its oil to Western Europe. Putin wanted the sanctions removed. Trump gave every indication of being willing to do exactly that. (5) Once it became clear that Russia had interfered with the American election, Trump tried in a wide variety of different ways to cover up his involvement with Russia. (6) There were at least 10 different incidents where Trump tried to interfere with Mueller’s investigation. The most obvious one came when he ordered White House Counsel, Don McGahn, to fire Mueller. McGahn refused to do so because he knew it was against the law. Trump later ordered McGahn to create a false record of what had taken place, which McGahn also refused to do.
So where does that leave us? It brings us face to face with the nasty question of impeachment. How much law breaking, wrongdoing, and unpatriotic activity can any President get away with before he (or she) is impeached?