Updated: Aug 20, 2019
The biggest news from this week should have been the massive budget that showcased both Democrat and Republican's complete unwillingness to tackle America's spending problem. It doesn't really matter how you spin the numbers, the answer is clear: The Federal budget needs to go down, not up. These days I'd even settle for it staying the same, but in this insane alternate reality we're all living in, apparently it's egregious to expect any notion of basic fiscal responsibility from our politicians.
Here's a topic for a later article - Politicians are representatives of the people, and truthfully the majority of American's lack basic fiscal responsibility, so maybe our representation is more accurate than we care to admit.
No, the biggest news to likely linger on for the next 10-20 years is that Robert Mueller spoke again. I should say, he at least tried to speak. What actually happened most resembled your 95 year old uncle answering questions about a movie his dad took him to when he was 9.
I'm going to skip all of the things you've likely heard on the other headline news sites and get right down to the crux of the issue. This investigation went on for two years. It cost millions of dollars. They subpoenaed thousands of people. In the end, what did we get? Nothing.
We as a country should be wary of moving towards a time when you must “prove your innocence.”
Imagine for a moment that there was a robbery in your in your neighborhood last night. A special prosecutor calls you as says, “We think you did this, and we’re going to have to prove that you didn’t.” Would you be able to prove your innocence? I mean beyond a reasonable doubt that there is no way you committed this crime? The problem is, unless you have 24 hour video surveillance on yourself, there is actually no way to prove that you didn’t do something. That's the legal standard set in America, and it's for a good reason. If you must prove your innocence, you are never really free (Also never truly free if you're forced to pay taxes under the threat of imprisonment, but that's another article).
The Mueller investigation did not find sufficient evidence of a crime committed by the president, plain and simple. If you think differently, please point me to the evidence, and tell me why the prosecutor did not recommend further action. Email me that evidence at firstname.lastname@example.org
To the point
This is America. One of the bedrock principles of this country’s founding is that you are innocent, until proven guilty. The presumption of innocence is something we should all care about, regardless of our political affiliation. In fact, the principle is so important that it can even be traced back to 6th Century Roman laws. Ei incumbit probatio qui dicit, non qui negat - "Proof lies on him who asserts, not on him who denies"
"Can you give me an example, other than Donald Trump, where the Justice Department determined that an investigated person was not exonerated because their innocence was not conclusively determined?" Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-Texas) asked the former FBI director-turned-special counsel:
"I cannot, but this is a unique situation," Mueller responded.
"Let's just leave it at you can't find it, because I’ll tell you why -- it doesn't exist," Ratcliffe said.
The special counsel's job -- nowhere does it say that you were to conclusively determine Donald Trump's innocence or that the special counsel report should determine whether or not to exonerate him. It's not in any of the documents; it's not in your appointment order; it's not in the special counsel regulations; it's not in the OLC opinions, it's not in the Justice manuals, and it's not in the principles of prosecution.
Nowhere do those words appear together, because respectfully -- respectfully, Director -- it was not the special counsel's job to conclusively determine Donald Trump's innocence or to exonerate him. Because the bedrock principle of our justice system is a presumption of innocence. It exists for everyone. Everyone is entitled to it, including sitting presidents. And because there is a presumption of innocence, prosecutors never, ever need to conclusively determine it.
Every American's default position is "innocent," and much to the dismay of millions of liberals, Donald Trump is in fact an American. To echo Rep John Ratcliffe, it was not the aim of the Mueller Investigation to exonerate the President.
It's hard to imagine things getting any worse, but if it were not for this bedrock principle, our entire rule of law and our method of democratic governance would be turned on it's head.
If not for this rule, you would never be safe. Not only would you be fearful of your tyrannical government, but you would likewise be fearful of your tyrannical neighbors. We've actually seen this play out before at local levels. In the late 19th and early 20th century, African Americans lived in this fear on a daily basis. Lynch mobs are a system built without the presumption of innocence. African Americans were not given these rights for the bulk of our country's history, and we saw the results.
If not for this rule, the Republicans would have accused Barack Obama of treason. Influential Republicans, not the social media warriors that already throw around the word "Treason" on an hourly basis. If not for this rule Democrats would accused George Bush. Republicans would have removed Bill Clinton. Democrats would have removed Ronald Reagan. Republicans would have removed Jimmy Carter. You get the idea. The presumption of innocence is a block against the most deadly of political weapons- the removal of the public's right to a true representation in government.
Guilt must be proven, not dis-proven, and that's a good thing for every American.
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