Week In Politics: The Redacted Mueller Report Is Out

NPR’s Audie Cornish speaks with David Brooks of The New York Times and E.J. Dionne of the Brookings Institution and The Washington Post about the release of the redacted Mueller Report.


It’s time for our regular week in politics segment, and this week we’re joined by our regulars David Brooks of The New York Times – hey there, David…


CORNISH: …And E.J. Dionne of The Washington Post and Brookings Institution. Welcome back, E.J.

E J DIONNE, BYLINE: Happy Passover, and Happy Easter. Good to be here.

CORNISH: OK, so we want to follow up on the conversation we just heard with Ryan. And E.J., I want to start with you because you argue that the findings detailed in the report put the president and Congress on a collision course. And as we just heard, you know, if there is Mueller testifying and things like that, how does this collision course play out after that?

DIONNE: You know, it’s very odd. There are two sentences essentially that Trump can hang hit hat on because he wasn’t charged with conspiracy. And Mueller didn’t let him off the hook at all on obstruction. He laid out a very good case on obstruction but felt he couldn’t charge him because of the Justice Department rule that says you can’t indict a president. The rest of the report is a – just an unholy mess for Trump. It’s about lies and chaos and an out-of-control president, pressure on aides to obstruct who kind of helped him sometimes by simply not following his orders, dozen a half Trump campaign officials meeting with Russians. So this is devastating.

And I think from the Democrats’ point of view, they could have what I would regard as a really stupid argument. Impeach now or not. I think that the better path is the one Pelosi is going to talk to them about on Monday, I think, from what I know, which is one step at a time, which is, don’t rule out impeachment because impeachment will be very important among other things for getting documents. But don’t rush into it ’cause you don’t have to. Investigate.

CORNISH: Let me let David jump in here because you looked at this existentially, that there are a broadly kind of three-pronged threat, looking at Russia being one of them, Julian Assange and WikiLeaks another and then the White House itself, Donald Trump. Can you talk about why you think these things are somehow working in concert?

BROOKS: Yeah. Even for those of us used to the Trump world, this was still an amazing level of brazenness that – I think it was even shocking to those of us who’ve been paying attention. But it struck me that it’s really about the infrastructure of our society that Trump with his lies and with his gangsterish activity runs roughshod over the systems of government we have. He’s always trying to interfere with investigations, do things that are against the rules. And so that undermines our sort of governmental infrastructure.

The Russians are undermining our informational infrastructure by introducing falsehoods into the public debate. Julian Assange and WikiLeaks undermined privacy and our organizational infrastructure that organizations need to deliberate. And so it was interesting to see these three forces intertwining in this debate, sometimes colluding, sometimes just sort of recognizing they’re all sort of the great big project of creating disorder and chaos at the – really the foundations of our society.

CORNISH: I want to go…

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