EDITORIAL: Relief that Trump did not betray US to the Russians is lost in his sordid presidency


President Donald Trump and his coterie have no one to thank — or blame — but themselves that the nation breathed a collective sigh of relief Sunday when Americans discovered special prosecutor Robert Mueller did not find evidence that Trump treasonously colluded with Russians to win the 2016 election.

Trump, his family and his team, current and past, created the atmosphere that brought on an astounding two-year criminal probe. Trump’s consistent and prolific lying, malfeasance and the culture of corruption in his administration have long undermined his credibility.

His own reprehensible behavior as a person, a candidate and as a president has been alarming, nearly on a daily basis. It’s been so bizarre that colluding with Russians hardly seemed outside the realm of possibility in explaining election interference and Trump’s own outlandish behavior toward Russian officials. As just one instance among dozens, Trump publicly sided with Russians when they said they did not work to interfere in the 2016 election. It’s now settled fact that they did.

The Mueller investigation was never a witch hunt but a case of trying to explain the suspicious and treacherous behavior of a provably unscrupulous man and his team, of which a host of are now felons in their own rights.

“All the best people,” who became all of the president’s men, are now part of a growing list of the Trump’s convicted or accused tribe of thugs, scammers, criminals and bunglers.

Trump can now rightfully boast the same Mueller team of prosecutors that he unmercifully disparaged has uncovered no evidence of his colluding with Russians. But nothing so far has “exonerated” Trump of the plethora of wrongs  — and, potentially, other crimes  — he has committed before and since becoming president. One of many allegations involves illegally using campaign funds as hush money to silence an adult-film actress claiming a sexual tryst with Trump.

The most disturbing part of the last few days is that Trump and his supporters should even have cause to gloat that Trump, as a U.S. president, had not provably sold out his country to the Russians. The bar for Trump has become so low, that anything short of murderous treason is seen by him and his dwindling pack of die-hard fans as vindication.

Trump is just as dangerous, incompetent, racist and untrustworthy today as he was before Sunday, when he — and his staff — interpreted two years of unprecedented criminal investigation as a glowing endorsement and his comprehensive absolution.

The public must see the report. After just a few sentences of summary, it’s easy to see that either Mueller or Attorney General William Barr are trying to make a technical argument against criminal obstruction. Such logic would be that Trump’s extortion and bullying of federal investigators and government officials is permitted because he dismissed allegations of Russian interference and allegations of treason from the beginning.

Colorado Democratic Congresswoman Diana DeGette was on the mark when she said Sunday that such a determination is for Congress to decide, not Trump nor his staff.

Regardless of the already credible and apparent obstruction charges, Trump’s voluminous provable lies, corruption, malfeasance and duplicity warrant transparent Congressional investigations and reports to Americans.

Mueller’s determination that there is no evidence Trump sold out the United States to the Russians is a positive development in Trump’s sordid history as president. Insistence, however, that it’s time to move on and forget Trump’s litany of related and unrelated transgressions could only come from Trump himself.

Congressional Democrats cannot blink in the battle for integrity. They must enlist the aid of as many Republicans as possible during these dark days to ensure that honesty, competence and morality are returned to the White House and all of American government and politics.