DAVID FRUM FROM THE ATLANTIC
Every effort to hold Donald Trump accountable has been thwarted by those who made it someone else’s job. Not any more.
“Many secrets, no mysteries”: That is the basic rule of all Donald Trump scandals.
There has never been any mystery about what happened on January 6, 2021. As Senator Mitch McConnell said at Trump’s second impeachment trial, “There’s no question—none—that President Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of the day.”
Thanks to the work of the congressional committee investigating the attack on the Capitol, Americans now have ample detail to support McConnell’s assessment. They know more about when and how Trump provoked the event. They have a precise timeline of Trump’s words and actions. They can identify who helped him, and who tried to dissuade him.
But with all of this information, Americans are left with the same problem they have faced again and again through the Trump years: What to do about it? Again and again, they get the same answer: “It’s somebody else’s job.”
Special Counsel Robert Mueller investigated Trump’s collusion with Russia. Mueller brought charges against Trump’s former campaign chair, Paul Manafort; against Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael Flynn; against Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen; against Trump’s longtime political ally Roger Stone; against many Russian nationals and organizations too. But on Trump himself, Mueller refused to pass judgment, because he believed he had no legal power to indict a serving president. He further believed that because he did not have that power, he should make no clear comment on whether the president’s conduct was indictable. Mueller presented evidence of Trump’s obstruction of justice, but beyond that … he tossed the responsibility over to Congress.