Today, after two years of fevered media anticipation, Robert Mueller’s report was released to the public, and with its publication came confirmation that Attorney General Barr was correct in his initial summary to the public: There was no collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government during the 2016 presidential campaign.
For the national media, the lack of substantiating evidence suggesting Russia/Trump collusion — and, incidentally, years of round-clock, frequently hyperventilated reporting — did not elicit much self reflection. Instead, many suggested that despite the thrust of their reporting being disproven, Congress should pursue impeachment charges anyway.
On MSNBC, Chris Matthews said that only through impeachment charges President Trump can the full truth ever be known.
"As journalists and as commentators, we can say, you know that is not the right way to make a decision, because you're been saying all along that your questions about Trump and his behavior were nonpartisan, you simply wanted get the truth and follow the truth,” Matthew said. “But then you can't step back and say, well now I'm going to make a political judgment, it is not in our interests to pursue this in a partisan fashion if that is what it comes to. That is not being consistent. If you're going after the truth, go all the way to the truth and the way to get to the truth is an impeachment exercise.”
“That is how you get the truth, that's how you get the subpoena power that will be upheld,” he added. “I think this Supreme Court will support the right of any Congress to advance the cause of an impeachment exercise"
CNN’s Blitzer — who throughout the investigation frequently asked Democrats whether they were prepared to impeach Trump — continued the practice after it had run its course, wondering to Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) if impeachment might still be possible.
“The House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said just a little while ago that pursuing impeachment in the House of Representatives at this time wouldn’t be worthwhile,” Blitzer said. “Do you agree?”
“Many of us do think the President is unfit for office,” Schiff replied. “But unless that’s a bipartisan conclusion, an impeachment would be doomed to failure. I continue to think that a failed impeachment is not in the national interest, and so we’ll see what’s been redacted from this report. We’ll continue to do our own work. But barring a bipartisan consensus, it’s very hard to see how that effort would be successful.”
Blitzer, as usual, wasn’t ready to let impeachment drop so quickly, following up: “It wouldn’t be a successful conviction in the Senate, but impeachment in the House of Representatives simply requires a majority vote, and the Democrats have a clear majority. You don’t think a majority, that the Democrats would vote for impeachment?”
After Schiff again said impeachment isn’t worth pursuing unless it’s a bipartisan effort, Blitzer tried a third time: “Basically you agree with Steny Hoyer, the Majority Leader in the House of Representatives, at least right now? Don’t start the House Judiciary Committee with impeachment proceedings, move on to some other issues but continue your overall investigation?”
Blitzer’s CNN colleague, Jeffrey Toobin, surmised of Mueller’s report that it’s an “all but explicit invitation to impeach the president.”
“The issue of exoneration here is — is so important. And there’s a sentence here that is all but an explicit invitation to Congress to impeach the president,” Toobin said, before quoting from the report. “’The conclusion that Congress may apply the obstruction law to the President’s corrupt exercise of the powers of office accords with our constitutional system of checks and balances and the principle that no person is above the law.’ That is — I don’t think there’s any other way to read that — is saying, ‘I, Robert Mueller, cannot enforce the obstruction of justice laws against the President because I am not empowered to do so under Department of Justice policy, but this is an invitation to Congress to say you can do it use the impeachment power.’”
Back on MSNBC, Nicolle Wallace claimed that what Mueller uncovered is “as impeachable” as Nixon’s, but Trump may escape the samne fate thanks to Fox News.
"Sean Hannity said two years ago that Richard Nixon wouldn’t have had to resign if he had Fox News; actually, I think Geraldo said it to Sean Hannity and they chuckled,” Wallace said. “That might be true, because this conduct is as sort of impeachable-looking if you put it in a time capsule as Nixon’s conduct. But what Nixon didn’t have was an overdrive social media, we now know aided and abetted by Russian trolls, and a news network dedicated to amplifying what is a very subjective read of a report that in the end if it exonerates them. Why are they so upset by all the details?"
During another Blitzer anchored CNN panel, the host asked if “this document is going to change Nancy Pelosi’s attitude against impeachment.”
Another reporter asked Rep. Jerry Nadler (N.Y.) if Mueller’s report might provide a “road map” for impeachment. The congressman said yes, though acknowledging he hadn’t read the report yet.
“Well, it’s too early to talk about that, you know, because we will have to go follow the evidence where it leads, I don’t know exactly where it will lead,” Nadler replied. “Certainly, I think, from the structure of the report, although I’m a little tentative because I’ve only skimmed it, we haven’t had it very long, I think it was probably written with the intent of providing Congress a road map.“