Op-Ed: Don’t doom your next president, Democrats. Accept the Mueller report

Rep. Adam Schiff, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, talks to reporters after a day of interviewing Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump's former lawyer, on Feb. 28.
(J. Scott Applewhite / Associated Press)

All Americans should be happy that the president of the United States has been completely exonerated of colluding with a hostile foreign power to win his election.

This is a good day. A unifying moment. Not just politically for President Trump, but for the entire country. Our democracy would be in tatters if Mueller had found otherwise.

Anyone down in the dumps, crying or angry that Mueller didn’t wish the Trump presidency into a cornfield ought to take a deep breath, delete the Twitter app from their phone, turn off MSNBC and recalibrate.


Truly, there is no reason to fret or be depressed. Some day in the future, a Democrat will be elected to the presidency. I don’t know when, but it will happen. And whatever Democrat achieves that honor deserves what Trump was never given — the benefit of the doubt, and the unity and hope this nation should feel as it embarks on a new presidency.

There is no reason to fret or be depressed. Some day in the future, a Democrat will be elected to the presidency.

That hope and unity will be virtually impossible for the next Democratic president too, if today’s Democrats can’t let this go and accept Mueller’s outcome. Trump was right all along – the Russian collusion theory was a hoax.

If Democrats double down now, refusing to accept the outcome of Mueller’s investigation, Trump’s base will galvanize even further. So-called “Never Trumpers” will come home to the GOP because their hatred for Trump will not top their distaste for aligning with Democrats who continue to root for a finding of treason. And I’d bet dollars to doughnuts that a fair number of centrist and independent-minded Democratic voters will take a second look at a president who was proven right in the face of the biggest raging hate cult in American political history.

Trump faced them all down. The media. The Democrats. The pundits and the so-called experts. His message never changed: “There was no collusion.” He was right and they were wrong, and many Americans will give him credit for sticking to his guns. You can continue to say he’s a liar all you want, you can dislike his style, but on the central question of this presidency—central because the Democrats made it this way—Trump was the honest one, and the Democrats, aided and abetted by the media, were the liars.

Mueller’s findings are of course embarrassing for people like Adam B. Schiff and Eric Swalwell, congressmen who sprinted from green room to green room claiming to possess direct evidence of the Trump campaign’s collusion with Russia.


But no matter how disappointed the Schiffs and Swalwells are now, they must issue mea culpas for dividing the country – to begin to heal this nation today and prepare a clean slate for the next Democrat to occupy the Oval Office. If they choose to plow forward, they will look like unhinged conspiracy theorists hellbent on proving themselves right. Schiff in particular ought to, at a minimum, step down from the House Intelligence Committee. Honestly, he should probably just resign from Congress in shame.

The American people won’t look kindly on congressional Democrats if they use their expansive powers to drag through the mud any of the 500 witnesses interviewed but not charged by Mueller. Those people weren’t hauled into a real courtroom for a reason; cooperating witnesses ought not be destroyed in the court of public opinion where there are no rules to protect them from bloodthirsty partisan hacks.

Former President Obama also has a role to play in healing this nation and saving his party’s next White House occupant. Mueller’s report proved two things: Trump did not collude with Russia, but a great many Russians interfered in our democracy on Obama’s watch, after they invaded Crimea and shoved Obama aside in Syria.

A word from the former president acknowledging his administration’s failure to stop a hostile foreign power from attacking our democracy would help Washington move to the next task: securing our democracy so the Russians or any other foreign actor can’t hurt us again.

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Trump and his campaign will no doubt take a victory lap on these findings, as well they should. But he should cease the baseless attacks on Mueller, who conducted a thorough examination over two years and delivered his findings by the book. Mueller was always the right choice and, as he has done time and again during his career, rendered a great service to his country.


The final act is for Trump to do what he’s done on several fronts – clean up a mess someone else left behind. He should immediately impanel a team of national security, legal and election experts to look at the Mueller findings and whatever the Senate Intelligence Committee has come up with to formulate concrete plans for stopping future foreign interference.

There’s a path back to unity for our badly divided nation; let’s hope the egos of Washington allow it to happen.

Scott Jennings is a Republican advisor, former special assistant to President George W. Bush and CNN political commentator.