Attorney General William Barr’s summary of the Mueller report reveals no collusion between Trump and Russia, a big problem for Democrats.

When, on Might 17, 2017, the Justice Department called former FBI D irector Robert S. Mueller III as special counsel to supervise the investigation into the Trump project and possible collusion with the Russians, The New York Times practically hailed it as a accomplishment of democracy. Mueller was explained in the most glowing of terms with words like “unblemished,” “credible,” “exacting,” and as a man “who is credited with building the modern FBI.”

To listen to Democrats, Mueller’s appointment was the start of the end of the Trump presidential problem. MSNBC’s Happiness Reid even imagined a scenario where Trump would be led from the White Home by federal marshals. This set the tone for how Mueller’s examination would be identified until it ended on Friday. Certainly, as recently as last week CBS N ews identified Mueller a “folk hero.”

For more than 675 days, we have been subjected to a consistent drip of leakages, unlimited Russia collusion coverage and the suggestion that Trump was the Manchurian — ur, I mean, the Russian — prospect who was sent to assassinate American democracy as we understand it. Whenever there was no news on the Mueller front, we could always expect Stormy Daniels to be given comprehensive coverage. Mueller’s investigation into Trump’s declared wrongdoing would be the long-awaited response to Hillary Clinton’s book, “What Occurred.”

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Only it wasn’t.

Or, more specifically, it was; it just wasn’t the response Democrats desired — or must I state, it wasn’t the answer Democrats required? On the exact same day that Mueller was designated special counsel, Trump provided this: “As I have actually specified many times, a extensive investigation will confirm what we currently understand — there was no collusion between my campaign and any foreign entity.”

Attorney General William Barr’s summary of the Mueller report suggests this is specifically what occurred, which is highly bothersome for Democrats. Having put their proverbial eggs in the Russia collusion basket, the Mueller report is an anticlimactic ending to an legendary buildup. Indeed, I feel like I have been binge-watching “Lost” just to find that the island isn’t genuine, and that the numbers put on’t mean a thing.

Mueller’s integrity comes back to bite

Of course, Democrats did themselves in by making the a priori assumption that Trump was guilty of collusion and/or obstruction of justice, and that Mueller would ferret it out. Whatever his personal sensations for Mueller, it is to Trump’s excellent fortune that Mueller was the guy conducting the investigation. Had it been a man considered friendly to the Trump project, we would now be hearing howls of demonstration that the entire thing was an inside task.

And this is where it gets unpleasant for Democrats. Due to the fact that they have continually endorsed Mueller as the typeface of stability ruthlessly searching for the reality, it now ends up being more than a little uncomfortable to condemn the results of his examination. What do they do now?

For the minute, Democrats appear to have a two-pronged strategy:

First, launch yet another Trump investigation. “The Mueller report is one file,” declared Rep. Gerald Connolly of Virginia. “It is not, nevertheless, the last word on continuous investigations, lawbreaker or otherwise.” Reps. Maxine Waters of California and Eliot Engel of New York remain similarly defiant.

Second, they are assaulting Attorney General Barr for not launching the complete report. This allows them to continue doing what they have done throughout the Mueller examination: Tip that the Trump campaign did undoubtedly do something ominous, but it just hasn’t been revealed to the public. Home Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler is, for instance, already recommending a “cover-up.”

Both methods are naturally dangerous.

Defense techniques might fracture broad open

In the first circumstances, Democrats run the risk of providing Trump victim status by appearing to be on a witch hunt. If Mueller discovered nothing on this president after more than $25 million, two years of investigation and 34 indictments, the public might deem that enough.

In the 2nd instance, the method can work only so long as the lawyer general does not release the report or, if he does, it is found to include the hoped-for smoking gun. If, nevertheless, Barr releases the report — a possibility Trump says “wouldn’t trouble me at all” — and his summary proves to be precise sufficient, this technique stops working, too.

What then? Would Democrats turn on Mueller and his investigation? Cracks in that dam are already appearing.

Writing for New York magazine, Eric Levitz is calling the Mueller report a “dud.” Continuing, he states with palpable frustration that Mueller “took a narrow interpretation of his required,” “failed to show” the allegations against Trump, “and refused to draw any conclusion about the most ordinary and plausible (allegations).”

Democrats must have been getting indications that the Mueller report was not going to offer them evidence of Trump offenses meeting the “high crimes and misdemeanors” requirement for impeachment. As if to appear generous, Home Speaker Nancy Pelosi began backing away from the concept weeks back.

With the nuclear choice off the table for now at least, Democrats are all of a sudden on the defensive and their strategy appears to be as cracked as the Liberty Bell. For them, the order of the day is damage control. Just how deep the damage runs remains to be seen.

They may have unsuspectingly made sure Trump’s re-election.

Larry Alex Taunton is an author and contributor to USA TODAY. You can subscribe to his blog site at larryalextaunton. com, or follow him on Twitter: @LarryTaunton

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