On March 24, Attorney General William Barr released a letter purporting to summarize the conclusions reached by Robert Mueller III in a report Mueller sent to him. Mueller reported to the Attorney General, according to Barr, that he had concluded not to charge Trump or his campaign with assisting the Russians in their 2016 election intrusions and to make no prosecutorial decision on alleged obstruction of justice by them or either of them.

In the same letter Barr arrogated to himself the decision not to charge Trump on obstruction because Mueller did not do so.

There’s a lot wrong with Barr’s action to clear the President. No one thought that the newly-minted Attorney General would actually decide what Mueller was supposed to decide, least of all Barr.

If the Attorney General could make this decision why all the sturm and drang about the Mueller probe’s illegitimacy, a point pushed by Barr in 2018 in a volunteered “audition” memo from which he has never departed?

Absent such a determination by Barr, the report would have gone to Congress for such action as it deemed appropriate.  There is nothing in the Special Counsel regs that says the Attorney General can decide to decline if the Special Counsel cannot decide to do so. The whole idea of a Special Counsel is to take that conclusion away from regular order at the Department of Justice.

Trump is now saying that the Mueller no Russian conspiracy conclusion plus the Barr obstruction declination exonerate him. He’s not wrong at least using the prosecutorial standard elevating reasonable doubt as the standard of measurement of presidential propriety.

This is a preposterous way to judge Trump or any other public official. A person can be a faithless steward of the presidency even though he boasts that he is not a crook.

As of April 2, no one in Congress has seen the Mueller report, redacted or not. And there is a fight brewing between the Democratic House and the Attorney General about access to it.

All that is prologue to what I fear. Succinctly, all the energy in the Democratic Party is with primary voters who want to nail Trump and who look to presidential candidates who will work hard to do so. In my opinion, the general election electorate will not support a Democrat running for president whose leading quality is perceived by it as a desire to jail Trump  or to deprecate him as an incompetent, venal and crooked jerk.

What people want is a president who will be with them on the issues they care about, including health care, jobs, a vibrant economy, a national policy of justice for all,  fair taxation not favoring the wealthy and corporations, and successful international initiatives in this hemisphere, in North Korea, in China, and with our allies. The evidence to support my conclusion is the 2018 election. The forty additional Democrats were elected because of what they stood for and not because they hated Trump.

So that’s the dilemma. To get nominated a Democrat has to be acceptable to the energetic, activist Democrats who want raw meat when it comes to dumping on Trump. But to win in November, that will not work.