Mueller and The Stages Of Grieving

The release of the summary of findings by the Special Counsel has left much of the country in stunned silence.  For two years, millions of voters have kept hope alive that the term of Donald Trump would be cut short by a type of avenging angel in Robert Mueller.  They are now left with a reality that is still difficult to process: Donald Trump is likely to finish his term as President of the United States. There I said it.

Cable programs that have spent years airing assurance of criminal prosecutions seemed at a loss for words. Indeed, it is difficult to process.  Matthews are going through what is a familiar process. It is called the stage of grieving.  Psychiatrist Elizabeth Kübler-Ross famously laid out the stages of denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Judging from the responses on Sunday night, we are still a fair distance from acceptance. 

Denial

For much of the last two years, many voters have been in open denial.  Denial is easy when it is a collective effort.  Voters quickly tuned into channels that reaffirmed their greatest hopes for prosecution or impeachment. This echo-chamber audience buoyed the ratings of MSNBC and CNN where viewers were assured by legal analysts that the evidence against Trump was overwhelming and that Mueller to set things right.  As Kübler-Ross explained, people will often start by cling to a false and preferable reality. 

That took an effort on collusion. From the outset, the entire theory of collusion was a bit wacky.  For months, legal analysts spoke of collusion like it was a defined crime.  It took months to get commentators to acknowledge that there is no such offense in the criminal code. The notion was that the Russian would collude with Trump or his family or aides to hack computer systems and then arrange for the leaking of the information through Wikileaks.  One has to have a tad more respect for Russian intelligence to believe that they would place themselves at risk by colluding with Trump or Trump Jr. or a circus clown like Roger Stone.  Why would they put themselves one tweet away from utter destruction?  In the same vein, it made no sense to schedule a meeting in Trump Tower with half the world’s media downstairs to hold one of your secret meetings. Add to that the fact that they did not know who was going to be at the meeting and did not actually turn over the promise evidence of criminal conduct by Hillary Clinton.

Many people still seemed stuck on denial.  On Friday, it was revealed that the Special Counsel had decided that he would not bring down any additional indictments. Some of us stated that this clearly indicated that Mueller had rejected the allegations of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians.  Nevertheless, on Sunday morning, House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff was still claiming that there was ample existence of collusion even if no one seemed committed a single criminal act of collusion.  Even before the summary was released, Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) declared that “very little credence” should be put in what Barr is saying.  Others like MSNBC host Joy-Ann Reid and panelist Eli Mystal noted that Barr’s approach to the summary “feels like the seeds of a cover-up are here.” As for Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff, he has doubled down on both obstruction and collusion.

Anger

Many people however are past denial and moving quickly to anger. MSNBC Chris Matthews exclaimed “How can they let Trump off the hook?”  Over the last year, such anger has increased as filing after filing failed to mention collusion and even stated that no Trump campaign member knowingly dealt with the hackers or trolls in Russia.  Despite these lengthy “speaking” indictments, anger simply augmented the denial.  For those of us pointing out the absence of key elements and evidence, we were denounced as Trump supporters even through our columns generally denounced Trump for his conduct.  Either you were all-in on the guarantee of criminal prosecutions or you were a Russian boot-licking troll for Trump.  This anger rose to a crescendo when key figures from Michael Flynn to Paul Manafort were charged with things far removed from any collusion-related crime.

Nevertheless, there was considerable advantage in keeping this anger alive.  Democrats ran on the expectation that they would seek impeachment after the midterm elections.  Media virtually banished all other news to cover legal analysts explaining how new disclosures would easily satisfy the standard for prosecution or impeachment. 

Bargaining

As 2018 turned into 2019, the bargaining stage began.  Voters began to accept that Trump might not be charged but he would at least be impeached.  Mueller was now portrayed not as a prosecutor but investigator who would give the goods to Congress for a swift and satisfying impeachment.  After all, many Democrats rallied voters on the pledge of impeachment and Democratic leadership continued to insist that Trump was committing impeachable offense. As I wrote before the midterm elections, impeachment was always a cynical ploy for power.  Democratic leadership had no interest in impeaching Trump and no intention to do so.  Why bring about a Pence Administration in which he could unite the country just before the 2020 election?  They want a wounded but living Trump in the White House not because it is necessarily good for the country but it is manifestly good for them. 

With the release of the summary, many have shifted to the argument that, if collusion is a dry well, surely there can be relief in collateral crimes being investigated in New York and various congressional committees. Indeed, a recent poll showed support for impeachment of Trump falling, even among Democrats.  Instead, many critics will be satisfied with further investigation even if they do not likely mean impeachment or prosecution.

Depression

As soon as the midterm elections were over, the Democratic leadership revealed the greatest bait-and-switch in history. Pelosi announced that impeachment was no part of their “agenda.”  The members who were howling before the election about impeachable offenses now insisted that it would make no sense since the Republican Senate would not go along.  That was depressing enough, but then people had to read this chilling line: “[T]he investigation did not establish that members of the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.” That was followed by a finding by the Attorney General and the Deputy Attorney General that there was insufficient evidence of obstruction for a criminal case.  In other words, your Trump condition is terminal.

Acceptance

We are now at the final stage were people begin to accept the inevitability of the final result.  With Mueller not finding collusion or serious criminal acts, the two years of misleading and overhyped theories of criminality have come crashing down.  Democrats can walk away with their added seats and the media can walk away with the added ratings, but voters are left with the painful reality to cope alone. 

Of course, if prosecution or impeachment is unlikely, for many there is little to live for.  Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross was not particularly helpful on bedside manner. She assured patients that such death is “neither frightening nor painful, but a peaceful cessation of the functioning of the body.” However, rest assured, there will be no cessation of the function of one body.  The House committees will continue to investigate and suggest that they could yet impeach . . . all the way up to the 2020 election.

439 thoughts on “Mueller and The Stages Of Grieving”

  1. No. It won’t say Trump is a foreign agent or Manchurian candidate. Then the story will shift to, what is it, the 26th false accusation and everyone will promptly get amnesia about Russia and stop mentioning it. Like they no longer mention how absolutely sure they all were that he was an anti-Semite.

  2. NBC News Poll and WaPo Poll both confirm earlier NPR poll that only about 1/3 of Americans believe Barr report means Trump is innocent.

    Party on.

  3. I especially enjoyed the Mad Magazine parodies of TV shows and movies.
    Wish I’d saved the issues I bought back then….maybe they have, or will have, archives online to access them.

  4. While the left grieves over the fact that Trump was entirely innocent and forgets Hillary was inadequately investigated for her actions we have to remember where 20% of our uranium went. The Russians got the Uranium and the Clintons close to $150 Million

    Russian control of US uranium supply is a huge national security problem

    Spencer Abraham5 days ago

    The Trump administration is to be commended for its “energy dominance” policy with respect to oil and natural gas production, but on domestic uranium mining, used for nuclear power generation and national defense purposes, it is the United States that is being dominated. Fortunately, the administration is considering new corrective measures to address this vulnerability to ensure America’s energy and national security.

    The U.S. has become overdependent on foreign uranium. Today, we have the world’s largest commercial nuclear reactor fleet, but our domestic mining industry supplies less than 2 percent of its uranium needs. Instead, foreign uranium accounts for the vast majority of our uranium supply with imports from Russia and countries of the Former Soviet Union (FSU) amounting to over 40 percent of the uranium loaded into U.S. nuclear power reactors.

    In 2019, the U.S. uranium mining industry forecasts production here at home will be less than is required for even one of the nation’s 98 operating reactors, and they will not be supplying any uranium for defense purposes.

    The U.S. nuclear fuel cycle industry has been subjected to years of excessive imports and other price insensitive supply sources that are not part of a normal free market system. The result is near domination of the market from regions with elevated geopolitical risks, often with agendas contrary to U.S. interests.

    The precarious nature of the industry has not gone unnoticed, and the U.S. Department of Commerce is in the process of investigating the effects of uranium imports on national security. One of the prominent issues is a flood of price insensitive supply from State Owned Enterprises (SOE’s).

    SOE cost structures are heavily subsidized by their governments. Their operations have less stringent safety requirements, regulatory frameworks and their operating processes are not near the standards required for U.S. companies. Moreover, capital access from their governments is not comparable to traditional financing. (CONT)

    THE RUSSIAN DUMA HAS PASSED LEGISLATION EMPOERING MR. PUTIN TO CUT OFF NUCLEAR FUEL SUPPLY TO THE U.S> AND ITS ALLIES ANY TIME HE SEES FIT.

    1. Only 1/3 of Americans think Trump is proven innocent by the Barr version of the Mueller Report according to an NPR/Marist poll conducted Mar25-27, so by Allan’s figuring 2/3 of Americans are leftists.

      1. Anon, Innocent of what is the real question. Assuming you are correct, that provides some proof of a corrupt media. If the media writes that Anon raped and murdered several women even though we here on the blog know you are innocent we might find a poll showing 90% believing you are guilty and if we word the questions appropriately it might hit 100%. What I am telling you is that you really don’t understand polls and your number twisting demonstrates a total lack of knowledge regarding statistics and selection.

        Your type of thinking is what led people to believe blacks were inferior to whites and that it was proper to enslave them.

        1. Don’t forget that Jonathan Gruber’s comment about the stupidity of the average voter was as true as it was insulting. They also believed Kavanaugh was guilty.

  5. Anecdotal evidence that Trump-Russia collusion dying by this weekend as predicted by yours truly: lefty newspaper South Florida Sun Sentinel ran zero stories on this subject today with only reference being a cartoon mocking pencil neck Adam Schiff: “The Ridiculous Shifty Schiff”…

    1. You know Adam Schiff and AOC are bit players with no power base, right? I encourage your demonizing them, but this is like my cat chasing the laser dot.

      1. Schiff is chairman of a standing committee of the House of Representatives. If he’s a ‘bit player’, just who are the non-bit players?

        1. Quick, name the other Committee chairman. Then ask yourself if he makes any big decisions without talking to Nancy. Then try to guess how many of the Democratic presidential candidates are likely going to his office seeking an endorsement.

          1. Per this version of Anon moniker, Schiff is “bit player” and Nancy Pelosi calls the shots, Bit player Schiff is leading the charge to keep alive the conspiracy theory, but Nancy P already tapped the breaks impeachment before Barr letter. So your response supports the notion that this thing is dead. Not sure if this version of Anon is punking us because the above “Anon” comments are way too easy to discredit – much easier than usual.

          2. DSS writes: ” If he’s a ‘bit player’, just who are the non-bit players?”

            Then Anon provides a pitiful response demonstrating he doesn’t know what he is talking about.

          3. Are you under the illusion that your response is something other than non sequitur?

            There are 441 members of the House and 100 Senators. There aren’t three dozen committee chairman. If this 7% isn’t in charge, who is in charge?

        2. Thanks, Absurd. You saved me the trouble of pointing out the obvious.
          I would also add that Schiff’s TV series is also another power base.
          I don’t think Nadler, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, has mounted a serious challenge to Schiff’s insurmountable lead on on-camera appearances.
          I can’t think of a similar committee chairman ( Schiff was previously ranking member) like Grassley or Graham or anyone with such a compulsion to appear on-camera and engage in grandstanding.
          Schiff’s “memorable and inspiring” ( and self-serving) performance on Thursday probably prompted Trump’s “pencil-neck” comment.

          1. The camera Schiff regularly appears on has maybe 2,000,000 viewers on a good night.

            But hey, keep going after him. I enjoy watching my cat too.

            1. I don’t know the numbers…if 2,000,000 is correct, candidate Schiff has done 200 TV interviews over the past couple of years, he’s familiar to a lot of people.
              Some of the 2,000,000 viewers estimated by Anon may be repeat viewers who have already seen Schiff time and time again, but some are not “repeat viewers” of the Adam Schiff Dog and Pony Show.
              In any case, Schiff doesn’t understand the meaning of the words “overexposure” and “grandstanding”

          2. I don’t think Nadler, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, has mounted a serious challenge to Schiff’s insurmountable lead on on-camera appearances.

            Both make for bad visuals.

          3. Tom & Allen: To quote Charles Barkley – trying to talk sense to dumb people is like “talking to stones”. And in case I have offended any dumb people not named Late4Yoga, Anon, PHill, Becka G, FishTail et al, I apologize in advance for that and would also like to apologize again for my white privilege (just like Beta O.)

      2. PS The Clintons got nothing out of the U-1 deal over which they had no control beyond the SD’s 1/9 of veto power. The NRC has full approval rights over where the product of those mines goes and it’s policy is it does not leave the US.

  6. Sally Yates, ex-Deputy AG in today’s WaPo on why we need to see the Mueller Report

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/sally-yates-william-barr-should-release-the-full-mueller-report-as-soon-as-possible/2019/03/29/32f5e6d2-5236-11e9-8d28-f5149e5a2fda_story.html?utm_term=.416c3bdde81f

    “….First, as the attorney general’s letter to Congress notes, the Mueller report “outlines the Russian effort to influence the election and documents crimes committed by persons associated with the Russian government in connection with those efforts.” Congress has a solemn responsibility to protect our democracy. Without access to the full factual record of what the special counsel uncovered, it cannot fulfill that mandate. As you read this, the Russian government is undoubtedly hard at work to undermine our next election. Each day that passes without Congress having access to the full Mueller report is a day that Congress is prevented from doing its job of keeping our elections free from Russian espionage efforts.

    Second, Barr’s letter leaves important questions unanswered concerning what then-candidate Donald Trump and his associates knew about Russian interference, and how they responded to Russian overtures to assist the campaign……it reveals that the campaign did field “multiple offers from Russian-affiliated individuals to assist the Trump campaign.” Yet President Trump and others have repeatedly claimed that they had no contact with Russians, or knowledge that Russians were acting to assist his campaign. Moreover, the Trump campaign did not bring the Russian outreach to the attention of law enforcement but secretly allowed a foreign adversary’s assistance. Remarkably, after the release of the Barr letter — which makes it undeniable that the Russians were seeking to help the Trump campaign — the president still denies it. Why? Why was the Trump campaign willing to allow the help of one of the country’s foremost geopolitical adversaries rather than report the overtures to law enforcement? And, as importantly, does the role that the Russians played in his election have any bearing on Trump’s current approach toward Russia? Only by seeing the full Mueller report can Congress and the American people make an informed assessment.

    Third, until the Mueller report is released by the attorney general, Congress and the American people will not be able to evaluate the president’s conduct with respect to obstruction of justice. …….

    ……There are legitimate reasons to make narrow redactions to the report provided to Congress. For example, testimony before the grand jury, as well as classified information that the intelligence community believes should remain classified, should not be provided in a report that will ultimately be made public. But the attorney general has great discretion in determining how these exceptions are defined and what information is excluded. The Justice Department should expeditiously provide to Congress a redacted version of the report that identifies the basis for each redaction, and those redactions should be drawn as narrowly as possible……”

    1. Sells a lot of newspapers and riles up those that don’t know much of anything but the Mueller Report will be released when vetted.

      In the end the left is looking for talking points and the newspapers comply since it earns them money. Does anyone think or want the AG to speed up the vetting process so that our security is impaired. Of course not. Whether it be a week or a month the entire vetted report will be released. In the interim the newsmedia needs something to write about.

      1. Is there any legitimate legal reason to suppress the talking points? Or is there merely a political motivation for suppressing the talking points? Are the American people to be kept in the dark about their president while he seeks re-election because the American people might not re-elect their president if he had to stand up to the bright light of the Mueller report in full public disclosure? Or is there a legitimate legal reason for suppressing the Mueller report?

        1. Diane, Trump’s been exonerated! Take his word for it.

          Never mind that ‘exonerated’ appears nowhere in the report. Never mind that Trump’s been calling Russian interference “fake news” these past two years. Never mind that Trump’s been calling the Muller Probe an “illegal witch hunt”. We’re now supposed to take Trump’s word that he’s been cleared and rally behind him for reasons of patriotism.

          1. Mr. H, I know that you’re only trying to help me. And that you really, truly have my best interests at heart. But you have to understand that I’m too far gone by now. Nobody can save me. Please, please, please try to save yourself, Mr. H, and however many others you can still manage to reach. Bring them all along with you to safe harbor. Somewhere. Someday. Somehow.

            1. “I’m too far gone by now”.
              Finally admitting what others have long recognized is a positive step.

          2. Since Trump didn’t commit a crime and there wasn’t even a stated crime when Mueller was appointed, Trump need not be exhonerated. He was never guilty. Go back to school.

        2. “Is there any legitimate legal reason to suppress the talking points? ”

          Diane, I know national security means very little to you but you will have your chance to read the Mueller report but you won’t be able to see a lot of things done by Obama and Hillary. That is where the politics come in. You don’t like equality under the law. I didn’t hear you calling for Mueller to complete the report when he realized the complaint was bogus, right at the beginning.

  7. We can only hope that the futile, counterproductive behavior continued up to and beyond the election. With any luck Joy Reid will be babbling her nonsensical diatribe well into the 2024 election cycle assuring Pence an easy victory.

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