Beware the “Reasonable” Take on the Mueller Investigation

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Perhaps I’m hypersensitive to this kind of thing, but I’ve noticed an uptick in “reasonable” takes on the Mueller investigation lately. I’ve seen this from both liberals and conservatives and it goes something like this:

  1. Crackpots on the right think the FBI has been utterly corrupted and the investigation is all about the Deep State trying to destroy Trump.
  2. Crackpots on the left are all about the pee tape and how Trump was practically a KGB asset.
  3. But look: conservatives have a point when they say the FBI investigation seems like it was opened on sort of flimsy grounds, especially during a presidential campaign.
  4. At the same time: liberals have a point that some people around Trump were a little overzealous about who they were willing to work with during the campaign, regardless of whether they eventually did anything illegal.
  5. Bottom line: There’s some smoke here, and the Trump folks deserve to pay a price for their actions. But it’s hardly Watergate 2.0.

As a person who often finds some value in dialing down the volume, I understand the appeal of arguments like this. But not in this case. So far, I’m sticking to my belief that Donald Trump probably didn’t personally collude with Russia. Beyond that, though, there’s just a mountain of evidence that points to massively illegal and unethical activity running through every facet of both the Trump campaign and the Trump White House. And that mountain is just what’s on the public record now. Once we learn everything that Mueller has discovered, the mountain is likely to turn into a super volcano.

I’m not surprised to hear some conservatives promoting the “reasonable” version of the Mueller investigation. But I am surprised that even some liberals are starting to hint at accepting it. I sure hope this doesn’t gain any more traction. There’s no need to go all X-Files on this, but there’s also no reason to downplay any of it. What Trump has done, and is still doing, almost certainly is Watergate 2.0.

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You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

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