AP NEWS

‘I Expected It To Derail:’ Locals React To Mueller Report

March 26, 2019

William Bestwick agrees with President Donald Trump that he was fully exonerated by the much-anticipated Mueller report into Russian meddling in the 2016. The Wright Twp. man thinks the origins of the investigation, which has dogged the Trump administration for more than two years, should be investigated. Trump repeatedly asserted his innocence during the investigation, calling it a “hoax” and “witch hunt” by “angry Democrat” political foes. “It was an illegal investigation that took place for some type of take down of the president. Obviously that won’t be happening,” Bestwick, 50, said Monday in downtown Wilkes-Barre. “I expected it to derail as it did.” Former FBI director Robert Mueller, who was appointed as special counsel to investigate possible collusion with Russia in the 2016 election, issued his report Friday to Trump-appointed Attorney General William Barr. Barr on Sunday issued a summary of Mueller’s findings, saying Mueller found no evidence of collusion by Trump or his team. On the issue of obstruction of justice, Mueller left it up to Barr and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who concluded there wasn’t sufficient evidence to support such a charge, according to Barr’s summary. Jerry and Lorraine Nash of Fairview Twp., both of whom voted for Trump, said the open-ended nature of Mueller’s report about obstruction will ensure the issue doesn’t go away any time soon. “I think the liberals and Democrats are going to say this is something we can go after,” Jerry Nash, 72, said. “It’s either he’s exonerated or not.” Lorraine Nash, 67, thinks the country deserves to see the full report, which will document Mueller’s findings from the two years of investigation that led to hundreds of interviews, thousands of subpoenas and a number of indictments of Trump associates unrelated to collusion. “I think it’s going to remain unsettled unless they come out with the full thing and everyone could read it,” Lorraine Nash said. “It’s going to stay out there to be debated.” Guy McKeown, 67, who lives in downtown Wilkes-Barre, said the final verdict of the Mueller report has not been written. “It’s hard to comment on it until it’s all out there,” McKeown said. McKeown said the information released so far is Barr’s opinion, particularly about obstruction. Mueller did not say Trump committed obstruction, but also noted the report did not exonerate him. “I don’t know why it was left to Barr. I think Mueller should have made the decision himself,” McKeown said. David Sosar, a political science professor at King’s College, said the exoneration on collusion is a good thing for everyone, considering the long history of attempts by Russians to influence American elections. “It means no Americans were involved in this,” Sosar said. Sosar said the decision by Barr not to charge for obstruction is supported by the approval of Rosenstein, who oversaw the Mueller investigation after Trump’s hand-picked attorney general, Jeff Sessions, recused himself. Many pundits speculated Trump planned to fire Rosenstein throughout the investigation, but he never did so. “Mr. Barr has exonerated the president. More importantly they brought Rod Rosenstein in there. He was not thought to necessarily to be the greatest friend of the president. When he also said there is no obstruction of justice here, I think that gave the Democrats less to hang their hats on,” Sosar said. “I wish we’d be able to get back to both sides passing legislation again. I think it’s time for this country to move on.” Contact the writer: bkalinowski@citizensvoice.com 570-821-2055; @cvbobkal