In Wake of the Mueller Probe, Silence Is Trump’s Best Friend

Michael Ottavio | @madmikepolitics

This past week, special counsel Robert Mueller submitted his final report on the Russian probe to the DOJ. This officially marks the end of the investigation into possible collusion between Donald Trump and the Russians. Since the conclusion of the Mueller Probe, Trump has been making waves by staying silent for a change; that silence could be his best friend going forward.

The Mueller Probe

On May 17, 2017, Robert Mueller was appointed by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein as the special counsel to investigate potential collusion between Donald Trump and his 2016 campaign, and the Russian government.  This past Friday, Mueller delivered his report to Attorney General William Barr, who now decides how much of the Mueller report to pass to Congress. This final submission comes after nearly two years of waiting and speculation from both sides.  We now know that the Mueller investigation has found no evidence of Russian collusion. Thus, there will be no more indictments to come as a result of the Mueller probe.

The Mueller investigation, all in all, took roughly two years and an immense amount of taxpayer money. It yielded 199 charges against 34 people and three companies. Among those 34 people were six of Trump’s former advisors and associates. Since Mueller’s appointment, the probe cost somewhere between 30 and 35 million dollars. An additional expense report for the final six months of the investigation is still awaiting submission, and it is likely to add eight million dollars to the total.

In a letter Barr wrote to Congress, he said Mueller “did not find that the Trump campaign or anyone associated with it conspired or coordinated with Russia”.  Even though he declared that there was no collusion, he was still unable to answer whether or not Donald Trump committed obstruction of justice. So instead of making that decision himself, he deferred it to Rosenstein. After review, both Rosenstein and Barr concluded that “the evidence developed during the Special Counsel’s investigation is not sufficient to establish that the president committed an obstruction-of-justice offense.”

What’s the Best Move?

So, what is to come now that the sacred Mueller investigation is now over? One can only speculate so much. However, Trump now has a clear course of action as well as a clear path to a potential 2020 re-election. Over the past couple of years, he who is in the spotlight is not doing so well. With social media playing a bigger role than ever before, we’ve watched a change occur in how the news flows and what it can do to a person’s career.

It was clear during the 2016 election that whoever had the media’s attention was often not doing so well. If 2020 goes anything like 2016 and even 2012, the name of the game is going to be to lay low and stay out of the news. This is starkly different from the traditional adage of “no publicity is bad publicity”. It appears the new challenge is to not make headlines, and only stay as relevant as you need to be.

With the rise of social media and its new role in politics, word gets around fast, tweets cover small stories, and people pass around the news in the blink of an eye. The need for major news organizations to cover a story has all but vanished, as you can now go directly to the people and have them work as a de facto arm of your campaign. Actually, it now seems like major outlets are covering candidates more regarding negative aspects of campaigns. This was all demonstrated in 2016 when FBI director James Comey opened a last-minute investigation into Hilary Clinton, thrusting her name right back to the top of every other news article in circulation and arguably costing her the election.

After the Mueller Probe, Silence Is Key

Following the conclusion of the Mueller probe, Trump remained uncharacteristically silent on social media for almost two full days until he finally broke it with a good morning tweet on Sunday. Trump, either smart enough to see the situation or receiving advice from others, made the correct move. The last thing Trump wanted to do was say something that could influence Barr and Rosenstein’s decision. To end up the center of controversy amidst what would be the most redeeming moment of his presidency would be horrendous.

All Trump needs to do is take when he did over this past weekend and apply it to the rest of 2019. Basically, Trump needs to keep his mouth shut. The Democrats have been the center of controversy over the course of the last couple of months. From accusations of anti-Semitism coming from within the party to criticisms over how much the Green New Deal would cost, it seems that the Democrats just can’t seem to keep themselves out of the headlines. If Trump manages to stay relatively quiet and keep himself away from major headlines, mainstream media outlets will be more likely to report on the current implosion of the Democratic Party.

Soaking Up the Moment

It remains blatantly obvious that the mainstream media is not a fan of Donald Trump. So, we can just about assume no news is good news when Trump’s name disappears from current headlines. Staying relevant is not really an issue for Trump the same way it would be for someone like Kamala Harriss. You’re not just going to forget about Trump; he is a household name and he has been for over two decades. Trump’s best move would be to tone it down and keep quiet.

A lot of people are looking remarkably foolish with the conclusion of the Mueller probe and many people are clinging to the fact that Trump was not technically exonerated of obstruction of justice charges. (This comes in spite of the fact that no more indictments are coming). We can only speculate as to what Trump’s mindset is right now, but one thing is certain; he should be soaking up this moment and keeping as quiet as possible. His silence is driving his opponents up a wall, and that’s exactly what’s going to help his re-election.


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