Mueller's report may actually not be the happy ending Trump is hoping for

Trump arrives at the White House from Florida
(Image credit: Eric Baradat/AFP/Getty Images)

The White House is understandably relieved about Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation concluding with no more indictments or evidence of criminal conspiracy by President Trump or his campaign. Trump's 2020 re-election campaign is aggressively fundraising off of the report, or at least the four-page summary released by Attorney General William Barr on Sunday. But as veteran newsman Dan Rather pointed out, the positive headlines may not be the end of the story.

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"Even if the actual Mueller report is anything like the attorney general's summation of its contents, Russiagate will go down as one of the biggest scandals in American political history," argues Franklin Foer at The Atlantic:

The Mueller investigation has been an unmitigated success in exposing political corruption. In the case of Paul Manafort, the corruption was criminal. In the case of Trump, the corruption doesn't seem to have transgressed any laws. As Michael Kinsley famously quipped, "The scandal isn't what's illegal; the scandal is what's legal." Lying to the electorate, adjusting foreign policy for the sake of personal lucre, and undermining an investigation seem to me pretty sound impeachable offenses — they might also happen to be technically legal. [Franklin Foer, The Atlantic]

Among other things, "Mueller has also provided a plausible answer" to why Trump "couldn't stop praising Vladimir Putin," and still sides with the Kremlin over the U.S. government, Foer writes. "Trump's motive for praising Putin appears to have been, in large part, commercial," and his mendacious attempts to use the campaign and U.S. foreign policy to enrich himself "is the very definition of corruption, and it provides the plot line that runs through the entirety of Trump’s political life." Read Foer's entire argument at The Atlantic.

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Peter Weber

Peter Weber is a senior editor at, and has handled the editorial night shift since the website launched in 2008. A graduate of Northwestern University, Peter has worked at Facts on File and The New York Times Magazine. He speaks Spanish and Italian and plays bass and rhythm cello in an Austin rock band. Follow him on Twitter.