In this Oct. 28, 2013, file photo, former FBI Director Robert Mueller is seated at FBI Headquarters in Washington. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File)

Analysis: Mueller paints a damning portrait of the president

Special counsel’s 448-page report, with redactions, released

To Donald Trump, the start of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation looked alarmingly like the end of his presidency. So he tried to stop it.

His months-long effort pushed the boundaries of presidential powers and the law, revealing a commander in chief consumed by self-interest and intent on having his top lieutenants lie or obfuscate on his behalf. The fact that many refused to do so may have helped save Trump from being charged with obstructing justice.

Those advisers effectively served as the guardrails in a White House that often seems to have none. A White House counsel who told the president he would rather resign than oust Mueller. A senior West Wing aide who quietly ignored a request to pass messages to the attorney general, who had already recused himself from the investigation.

“The incidents were often carried out through one-on-one meetings in which the president sought to use his official power outside of usual channels,” Mueller wrote in his redacted 448-page report.

The episodes detailed by the special counsel paint a damning portrait of a president consumed by the investigation. Even after more than two years of revelations about Trump’s willingness to lie or press others to do so, Mueller’s report put into sharp focus the president’s disregard for governing norms and his willingness to challenge both legal and political limits.

Trump and his advisers can herald the fact that two years of investigation ended without criminal charges for the president, not only on obstruction but also on criminal conspiracy with Russia to help him win the 2016 election. Though numerous people with ties to Trump — including former national security adviser Michael Flynn and ex-campaign chairman Paul Manafort — did plead guilty to crimes, no Americans were indicted for colluding with Moscow.

“His greatest rebuttal will be he’s in office, he’s going to remain in office and he’ll get re-elected because the Democrats have nothing,” Kellyanne Conway, a senior White House adviser, said of the president.

Indeed, the Democrats’ next steps are unclear. Some lawmakers will likely continue to press for impeachment proceedings, though party leaders are skeptical of that approach. House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler has requested that Mueller testify before his committee within weeks and plans to subpoena for the full report and underlying evidence.

Yet the end of Mueller’s investigation did more than answer questions about whether Trump and his associates committed crimes. The probe underscored just how far Trump has gone in pushing the limits of the presidency and encouraging others to help him do so.

Rep. Adam Schiff, Democratic chair of the House intelligence committee, said that while Trump’s actions may not have been criminal, they were “dishonest, unethical, immoral and unpatriotic.”

Trump’s actions were in line with his behaviour as a businessman, when he employed a team of lawyers and fixers to protect him from legal trouble. One of those longtime confidants, lawyer Michael Cohen, was brought down in an investigation stemming from Mueller’s probe, centring on hush money payments he made to women who alleged sexual relationships with Trump during the 2016 campaign.

The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Sidney to hear cycling story for the ages

72-year-old Bill Brooks cycled from the Arctic Ocean to the Salish Sea

Former runaway teen helps find missing youths through social media

Alex Meikle created the Facebook group Greater Victoria Missing & Runaway Teens

Sidney could take additional action around speculation tax

Council to consider steps later this fall after staff review of provincial statistics

Candidate Corner: Cowichan-Malahat-Langford hopefuls talk environment and climate change

This is part one of a four-part series outlining candidates’ thoughts on key topics

Victoria offers $63,000 in grants to build better neighbourhoods

Grants are up to $5,000 for placemaking projects and up to $1,000 for activities

VIDEO: Greater Victoria, here’s the news you missed this weekend

Andrew Berry trial nears end, Victoria joins tree-planting pledge and more

VIDEO: Grizzly bears fight along northern B.C. highway in rare footage

Cari McGillivray posted the head-turning video, shot near Stewart, B.C., to social media

Give severely addicted drug users injectable medical-grade heroin, guideline says

CMAJ article outlines best practices for innovative treatment that’s been lacking in overdose crisis

B.C. court hears disclosure arguments in Meng Wanzhou case

Huawei exec argues she was unlawfully detained at YVR last December at direction of U.S. authorities

Trudeau attacks Scheer, Harper, Ford in first federal salvo for Ontario

Liberal leader targets three big conservative rivals in second full week of campaign

Three second-half goals lead Cavalry over Victoria’s Pacific FC

Cavalry FC downed Pacific FC 4-1 on Sunday in Canadian Premiere League action

Island music trivia tournament a hit on World Alzheimer’s Day

More than $13,000 raised by people naming that tune

PHOTOS: Steller sea lion with plastic around neck rescued on Vancouver Island

Rescue staff determined the plastic band cut the protected animal’s neck approximately two inches

B.C. VIEWS: School officials join fact-free ‘climate strike’

Students, public get distorted picture of greenhouse gases

Most Read