The most troubling thing about the end of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation was the reaction of so many on the left when they learned that Donald Trump was not a Russian asset. They were, to put it mildly, disappointed.
MSNBC host Chris Matthews appeared apoplectic (admittedly not unusual for him) and went into a rant that ended with: “How can they let Trump off the hook?”
His colleague Joy Reid took aim at Attorney General William Barr’s neutrality and referred to the “seeds of a cover-up.”
Rep. Adam Schiff, D-California, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, gave an interview to The Washington Post, where he rejected Mueller’s findings, stating that “undoubtedly there is collusion.” He also said, “We will continue to investigate the counterintelligence issues. That is, is the president or people around him compromised in any way by a hostile foreign power? It doesn’t appear that was any part of Mueller’s report.”
Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-New York, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, continued to insist that despite the Mueller report clearing the president and his associates from colluding with the Russians, “We know there was collusion … why there’s been no indictments, we don’t know.”
And these were just some of the high-profile Democrats and Trump critics who were so invested in the Mueller investigation’s ability to take down the president that they lost sight of what was really important: confirmation that President Trump and members of his campaign did not conspire or coordinate with the Russian government to get him elected.
Instead of exulting in joy, many Democrats acted like kids who hadn’t gotten everything on their Christmas list. That’s frightening. There is something twisted in the idea that Americans would rather have their partisan dreams fulfilled than be assured that the man who leads us — however repellent his character and policies might be — is not a traitor.
This surprised me, even after two years of suggestions that a Manchurian Candidate occupied the White House. My Facebook news feed regularly filled up with comments and articles on how Michael Flynn, Michael Cohen, Paul Manafort or fill-in-the-blank random Trump associate was the canary in the coal mine of the president’s demise, and that Mueller would expose the strings attached to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s puppet.
But still, I assumed that my fellow Americans were hoping that our country was not compromised and our president was not guilty of treason. For those who truly love this country and hope that it can withstand even the most troubling assaults on its institutional integrity, that’s a no-brainer.
But when news of the report was released, something was unleashed on the left that convinces me there are people there who hate Trump more than they love this country.
The left’s barely concealed distress at seeing the president cleared of collusion and conspiracy with Russia and their insistence that this isn’t over, and that he can still be found guilty of treason is proof positive to me that the real threat to this country is a willingness to sacrifice everything we hold dear — due process, presumption of innocence, and respect for our legal system — in a narrowly focused crusade to undo the results of an election.
I sympathize with those who reject this president and his policies. I am far from an apologist for his governance, as I’ve stated on numerous occasions, to the chagrin of many of my fellow conservatives. I get as much hate mail from Trump loyalists as I do from those who want him gone yesterday.
But this is about something much more sinister than mere opposition to a political opponent. It is one thing to despise Trump. It is quite another to be disappointed that our leader is not a Russian asset. I think some people need a refresher on the definition of “traitor.”
Christine M. Flowers is a lawyer and columnist for the Philadelphia Daily News.