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Shepard Smith: Mueller’s report ‘did not exonerate’ Trump
Devoted anti-Trump Fox News anchor Shepard Smith said Tuesday that “everyone should read” Robert Mueller’s report.
Echoing talking points from CNN and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Smith claimed that Mueller’s investigation “did not exonerate” President Donald Trump.
Smith to America: Read the report
Smith has become a target of Trump’s ire for his consistently anti-Trump commentary, which often riffs on liberal talking points that are indistinguishable from those peddled by liberal media networks like MSNBC and CNN. While Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity have blasted Mueller’s probe as a sham, Smith has joined the chorus of liberal talking heads claiming that the Mueller report, far from exonerating Trump, is an “impeachment referral.”
On Tuesday, Smith carried water for pro-impeachment Democrats by urging all Americans to read the more-than-400-page report, saying that it lays out evidence of possible crimes by Trump.
“Remember, in his 400-plus page report — that everyone in America should read, everyone — Robert Mueller laid out 10 instances of apparent obstruction of justice, criminal obstruction of justice, potentially, by President Trump,” Smith said.
Mueller did not establish that Trump colluded with Russia. The special counsel also did not charge Trump with obstruction of justice, which means that Trump is, legally and factually speaking, innocent of both counts.
However, in his first and only remarks on his investigation last month, Mueller said that indicting Trump was “not an option” and that if his team “had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime we would have said so.” Mueller also alluded to another process outside the justice system to accuse a president of a crime, which Democrats in Congress took as a nod to impeach the president.
Smith merely repeated these talking points, arguing that Congress must pick up where Mueller left off: “Mueller explained that if he and his team had confidence that the president did not commit obstruction, they would have said so. He also said that under Justice Department guidelines, charging the president with a crime was never an option to him. He said the Constitution requires another process.”
Dems seek Mueller diversion
Mueller’s unusual verdict — that he was neither exonerating nor charging Trump with obstruction — left a cloud of suspicion hanging around the president. Mueller was criticized for his aberrant decision, which many said denied Trump the presumption of innocence.
For his part, Trump has repeatedly stated that Mueller vindicated him, declaring, “No collusion, no obstruction!” But Democrats have sought to keep the Mueller investigation alive past its expiration date with continued investigations, hearings, and allegations of vague criminal wrongdoing.
Smith’s remarks came as he was discussing Democrats’ Tuesday vote to hold Attorney General William Barr and former White House counsel Don McGahn in “civil contempt” for not cooperating with Democrat subpoenas. Barr has refused to hand over Mueller’s unredacted report, while McGahn skipped a House Judiciary hearing at Trump’s request.
Democrats have accused Barr of giving a misleading summary of the Mueller report for Trump’s benefit, as part of a broader “cover-up” by Trump and Barr to hide the president’s alleged crimes. Meanwhile, Trump has accused the Democrats of bad faith, saying they merely want a “do-over” of the Mueller probe because the investigation did not turn out the way they had hoped.
In their latest effort to re-do the investigation, the Democrats held a tabloid-esque hearing on the Mueller report Monday featuring Richard Nixon witness John Dean, who served jail time for his role in the Watergate conspiracy. Republicans accused Democrats of using Dean, who attacked Trump at the hearing, as a prop to push their discredited conspiracies about the president.
For his part, Smith ought to be more generous with his viewers’ time. As the Washington Times reported, Mueller’s report consistently sidelines its no-collusion finding to describe inconsequential contacts between Russia and the Trump campaign at length.
It’s unlikely that many people have the time or interest to plod through Mueller’s abstruse legal theories on obstruction of justice, either. At any rate, the conclusion of Mueller’s report can be summarized in three words: Trump is innocent.
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