The Scene: It’s the shout heard ‘round the Twittersphere: “WITCH HUNT!” President Trump is fond of using this phrase to describe special counsel and former FBI director Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian collusion in the 2016 election cycle. This time, however, Trump has specifically called on Attorney General Jeff Sessions to stop the Russia investigation/witch hunt “right now”. Sources say that the tweets came after Trump was updated on the status of the investigation by his team, while White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders reacted to those calling the tweets an obstruction of justice, saying: “The President is not obstructing. He's fighting back.”
What do students think about the Russia investigation?
• “In all honesty, though, the only relieving part about the indictments is the intimation that our democratic foundations might actually be preserved by the rule of law. Otherwise, we are only still waiting, and watching.”
• “I don’t bring all this up only to engage in an early “gotcha.” After all, Mueller’s work is really only beginning. These are his team’s first actions but it is almost certain he does not intend them to be the last. It is to remind voters on this campus that each day, we live under one of the worst American presidents in history who does not lead with the popular mandate and may not even be leading with a legitimate electoral one.”
• “Why is the Russia investigation still dominating our news cycle a year and some change after Donald Trump won the election? Questions about Russian hacking, trolling and covert communications with Trump’s campaign team are as normal as burned tongues from McDonald’s coffee, and that’s saying something. The Russia investigation dominates talking points from the morning paper to the nightly debating circuit with Anderson Cooper. Hard to miss, no?”
• “Policy considerations based on Russia’s actions and Trump’s denials should remain at the forefront of conversation for a long time.
• But the process is a snoozefest. The updates are incremental. Sometimes they falter in the spotlight of “information overload.” Amid every other scandal or poor decision by Mr. Trump, coverage of the Russia investigation adopts the mantle of an antique clock. Serviceable for now, and even interesting to look at from time to time, but its real value as a sellable antique will only be apparent later.”
• “I'm not so hung up on the idea of shutting down the Mueller investigation, but it bears sharing my thoughts on the matter before advancing. I think that the special counsel should continue his work but in an expeditious manner. I do not suspect that the former FBI chief is dragging his foot during the process, but it has been over a year since we heard whispers of Russian collusion. Chalk me up as "doubtful" that any significant collusion, whatever the word means in this context, occurred, but for the sake of Democracy the investigation must be completed.”
• “The other side of the coin, then, is The Resistance. Instead of seeking some sort of agreeable middle-ground on the issue, plenty (too many, at least) on the left seem to think stumbling into the trenches in categorical opposition to the president is the best course to take. I am less sure, but that's where we are. When Donald Trump says something it doesn't always mean it's wrong -- a broken clock is right twice a day, you know.”
• “The basic argument I'm making here, I guess, is that resolute opposition to someone is not a particularly mindful ideology. It isn't an ideology, really, and it's more mindless than mindful. Nobody really gains anything, politically or intellectually. For Republicans, too, it is worth considering whether the ends justify the means.”
The Bottom Line:
The Russia investigation seems to be dragging on no matter who you ask - for Democrats the shoe can’t fall fast enough, and Republicans think that a day without an indictment means Robert Mueller is taking a vacation. The president, too, wishes that Mueller would hurry up and do his job, or preferably, stop what he’s doing/ entirely. Though it is very likely that the president’s tweets about the investigation will be used against him, he continues to post them. Is he just another person posting his anxieties on social media? One would hope that the leader of the free world is able to show more restraint… but only time will tell if Mueller has anything big on Trump, and Americans will just have to wait it out in the meantime.