Los Angeles Times, in an editorial: "It’s true that the special counsel didn’t establish that Trump’s campaign criminally cooperated with Russia in its efforts to interfere with the 2016 presidential campaign. Instead, the report provides evidence that a Russian organization with ties to the Kremlin tirelessly promoted Trump and bashed Hillary Clinton on social media with the (evidently) unwitting aid of Trump campaign officials and Trump himself. It also notes several overtures by Russians to supply stolen emails and other “dirt” to the Trump campaign, drawing interest rather than alarm from campaign officials. But the report absolutely does not clear the president of the more serious accusation that he tried to obstruct justice through a variety of efforts to abort or interfere with the Russia investigation."
James Robbins, USA TODAY: "The Mueller report and other investigations into Russian meddling show that Moscow remains committed to using every means at its disposal to sow discord in American politics. These efforts continued into the 2018 midterm elections, and we can assume that there will be a prominent effort to generate chaos during the 2020 election cycle. ... Russian political warfare seeks not so much to rig individual elections as to achieve lasting and destabilizing psychological effects. Russia sought not to determine the outcome of the 2016 race, but to make Americans question the legitimacy of our system of government. The growing chaos in the political sphere shows that this psychological effect has taken hold with a vengeance."
Harry Litman, Washington Post: "The most important day concerning the 22-month inquiry by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III quickly became deeply unsettling Thursday, laying bare grave failures by nearly all of the institutions and officials to which the country has been looking for answers to public questions of surpassing importance. First and most obviously: Attorney General William P. Barr, who presented a plainly slanted prebuttal of the Mueller report and stood up for the president’s conduct, and did so with a pugilistic swagger that almost dared opponents to take issue with him."
Chris Truax, USA TODAY: "Whether Trump committed an actual federal crime does not completely answer the question we must decide. As the report points out, ultimately, it is up to Congress to sanction a sitting president and that determination is more than just a question of whether the president is an actual felon. For example, one of the reasons Barr believes the president did not commit obstruction is that the president’s efforts to interfere with the investigation were not motivated by 'corrupt intent.' Rather, he said, Trump was personally upset and believed the investigation was “undermining his presidency, propelled by his political opponents, and fueled by illegal leaks.” Assuming that is so and that interfering with an investigation for political reasons doesn’t qualify as corrupt intent — a big assumption — that still does not necessarily absolve the president."
Noah Bookbinder, New York Times: "Crucially, the report explicitly rejects many of the most prominent defenses of the president that have been articulated by the president’s lawyers and Attorney General Barr. First, the special counsel rejects the notion that the Constitution forecloses scrutiny of a president’s use of his own constitutional powers to impede investigations. Instead, it says, 'The conclusion that Congress may apply the obstruction laws to the president’s corrupt exercise of the powers of office accords with our constitutional system of checks and balances and the principle that no person is above the law.' Second, obstruction of justice cases do not require that the most prominent underlying crime being investigated — in this case conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia — be proven. To the contrary, the report states that 'obstruction of justice can be motivated by a desire to protect noncriminal personal interests, to protect against investigations where underlying criminal conduct falls into a gray area, or to avoid personal embarrassment.' As the report repeatedly details, the motivation behind Mr. Trump’s obstructive conduct seems most likely to have fallen into one of these categories."
Jason Sattler, USA TODAY: "The Republican Party and Barr have made their decision — to let Democrats carry this burden alone. They know the responsibility to impeach a president will be a distraction for a party that just took over the House by campaigning on issues voters care about, like health care and corporate tax cuts. But with an attorney general willing to do almost anything to protect this president, the question isn't 'What's politically advantageous?' It's what will be left of our democracy if Congress doesn’t do its job."
Ramesh Ponnuru, Bloomberg: "The report is also an episodic portrait of the administration, and what it shows is a president who is untrustworthy, who has untrustworthy advisers, and whose advisers do not respect him. Mueller has not destroyed Trump’s presidency, as Trump feared. But he has shone a light on what’s weakening it."
Scott Jennings, USA TODAY: "Democrats have two options — impeach the president or win an election. With their hopes dashed that Mueller would kick in the White House door and frog march the president to jail, Democratic remedies for getting rid of Trump are purely political: impeach the president for obstruction of justice, or work as hard as possible to win the next election. The House Democratic leadership was having trouble tamping down impeachment talk before, and it won’t get any easier now given the relentless focus on the obstruction section of the report. The bloodthirsty among them will grow even thirstier and calls for impeachment are likely to increase. Can Speaker Nancy Pelosi stop them? I have my doubts that she can herd her impeachment cats away from their hyper-partisan impulses."
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: 'Mueller report absolutely does not clear the president': Opinionline