Updated: Jul 2, 2019
By Susan Hutchinson
The bottom line of the massive report on Russian interference into the U.S. 2016 election is that despite lingering questions about the appropriateness of Trump campaign activities, the laser-like focus of Congress should be on making absolutely certain similar activities do not occur in the 2020 presidential election.
Since Special Counsel Robert Mueller released his report to Attorney General William P. Barr, it has been a roller coaster ride for Americans who insisted on their right to see it. Although there is no law saying the Attorney General can’t release the report, Barr took a circuitous route before releasing it to Congress and the public.
And, the end result was to spin it as favorably as possible for Trump. We must always remember who appointed Barr, and why.
First came Barr’s four-page review of the document with Trump's immediate response of "no collusion" between Russia and his campaign in 2016. Then he stated the report needed to be redacted in multiple sections before he would release it resulting in several weeks’ delay from the time he received it from Mueller.
This week we learned that White House lawyers, as well as Trump’s personal lawyers, were allowed to review the report before it was given to Congress. This curious event led to Trump and members of his administration joyously asserting that the report exonerated the president of collusion.
Today Barr held a press conference prior to releasing the redacted report to Congress and the public. It was, by all accounts, another bizarre twist to this sad saga. As with the four-page initial review, Barr's performance appeared to have been intended for an audience of one – Donald Trump.
Trump's spin doctor, the Attorney General of the U.S., not Trump's personal attorney, was at it again.
It’s Not All About Trump
But let’s stop focusing on Trump and review what prompted the appointment of the Special Counsel in 2017. There would never have been an investigation without suspicions from various national security agencies that Russia interfered in our election process with the intent of making sure the candidate theywanted was successful. The fact that Trump was their choice is a moot point.
However, evidence was uncovered of possible coordination with the Trump campaign and that led to expanding the scope to conclusively determine if Trump, or any member of his campaign, actively helped Russia in its efforts. Because Trump and his campaign were clearly mentioned, Trump made it all about him and people lost site of the Russia meddling component.
it never has been disputed, and now has been conclusively confirmed with the Special Counsel's report, that Russia interfered in the 2016 Presidential election. Even Trump stated before the mid-terms in 2018 that he wanted to stop Russia from doing it again, although he never followed up.
In July of 2018, Rep. Steny H Hoyer (D-MD-5) introduced H.R.6437 the Secure America from Russian Interference Act of 2018. What is the current status of this bill? Upon introduction it was referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs.
And that’s where it remains.
Will it Happen Again in 2020?
Donald Trump has everyone focused solely on him with regard to the Special Counsel report. The fact that neither he nor anyone in Congress is actively looking at how to prevent Russia, or any other foreign country from interfering in our election process in 2020, is appalling.
Every American should be outraged that this happened, with or without coordination from a presidential contender. It doesn’t matter if you are Republican, Democrat or have any other political affiliation; our democratic processes and rights as voters to choose our own representatives are being compromised and that should never, ever be allowed to happen. That it happened by a foreign adversary is unspeakable, and anyone who ignores this or tries to justify it because their candidate benefitted is not a patriot and, in fact, could be considered a traitor to the United States.
This is not about partisan politics; it is about standing up for the Constitution and the principles of the founding fathers of this great country.
Susan Hutchinson, who for many years worked for a clinical diagnostics company, is now retired. She now writes and actively works for causes in which she believes.