EDITORIAL: Pelosi must overcome cynicism and dubious political priorities — begin an impeachment inquiry now

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Special counsel Robert Mueller made clear Wednesday who he is and what he stands for. Now, it’s time for Congress to step up.

So far, consistent comments made by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi reveals she and some fellow Democrats stand for shameless cynicism and a greater concern for political victory instead of justice for the American people.

Speaking publicly for the first time since the Trump-Russia debacle began almost two years ago, Mueller deployed carefully chosen words Wednesday to deliver his final message to the nation about President Donald Trump’s potential collusion with Russia to win the 2016 election.

During his relatively brief comments, Mueller made two things clear. First, that Attorney General William Barr is just another member of the Trump propaganda machine. Mueller also re-explained that only Congress can now mete out judgment and retribution to this president.

Almost two months ago, when Mueller released his long-awaited report, Barr summarized its findings to the nation, saying that Mueller had determined there was “no evidence” that Trump had conspired with the Russians.

Only historians will be able to judge whether Barr deliberately lied about that or whether it was dubious legal spin created to protect Trump.

What Mueller said then and now is that there was not “sufficient” evidence of collusion to prosecute Trump.

More importantly, Barr said, just after the Mueller report was released, that Mueller sidestepped the obstruction question, and after reviewing the evidence, Barr determined no crime was committed by Trump.

Mueller set the record straight Wednesday, reading what was probably the most critical and tightly crafted comment he made.

“If we had had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so,” Mueller said.

Despite the spin Trump and company have famously tried to sell the nation, Mueller by no means exonerated the president.

In fact, the Mueller team went to excruciating lengths to reveal numerous incidents where Trump had acted or conspired to obstruct the investigation of himself, his campaign and his White House.

Mueller never sidestepped the impeachment question. He made it clear the evidence against Trump must now be taken up by Congress, and no one else.

The case against obstruction spelled out in the 448-page Mueller report is rock solid. Any fair and impartial jury would be compelled to agree with a prosecutor that Trump broke the law repeatedly and wantonly.

Pelosi and others have repeatedly said, the president, this president, Trump, “is not above the law.”

Prove it.

Pelosi has also said repeatedly that an impeachment proceeding against Trump would be divisive, disruptive and politically dangerous for Democrats. Those risks pale compared to the peril now and to future Americans in allowing this president’s crimes to go unchecked.

Her cynicism and expressed lack of ethics draw a sharp light on her moral ability to lead the House of Representatives. While she may be a shrewd politician, she is at this point no friend to the American people, who have been victimized and defrauded by the president.

Pelosi and others must muster the courage to set aside their desire to make their political future a priority in this criminal scandal.

President Trump has committed at least a handful of “high crimes” in obstructing an investigation into whether he colluded with enemy Russians to throw a U.S. presidential election. There are scads of other potential crimes Trump may have committed before or after becoming president that require the power of congress to investigate as well.

Currently, it appears he did not collude with Russians but was simply played by them as a willing stooge. But now it’s time for Congress to act as a jury to Trump’s charges and either convict him, remove him or show Americans why his crimes should be set aside.

Mueller did his job. It’s time for Pelosi and members of the House to do theirs and begin an impeachment inquiry immediately.