Special counsel Robert Mueller didn't explicitly accuse the president of a crime, but those of us who defended Mueller's investigation have been vindicated. Mueller was medicine for our civic health.
Whether or not the president can be indicted by a federal grand jury is, in the grand story of the American experiment, an arcane debate. The United States is an experiment in self-government and the rule of law, not a law school class on criminal procedure.
When the president violates the law, there are two failures: legal and political.
The legal failure is that a criminal might go free on technicalities. But this kind of miscarriage happens every day; our institutions let some guilty people off as the price we pay for defending the rights of the accused.
Similarly, the risk that the president (or any other official) might abuse their power is the price we pay for empowering them to govern effectively.
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The political crisis is more serious. The government draws its power from the people, and if the people acquiesce to government corruption, then all the judges, juries and prosecutors in the country won't make a difference.
That's why it was so important that Mueller wrote his report so clearly and comprehensively, and that the report was released to the public. He explained in clear, detailed prose exactly how unpatriotic, irresponsible and immoral the White House has become.
The special counsel did so despite the Justice Department policies that prevented him from formally accusing the president of a crime. By strictly adhering to the rules, Mueller ensured that his report was above legal reproach. Its legitimacy under the law is without question. So are the facts.
And these facts set a choice squarely before the American people and their representatives in Congress: Is this the government the American people want? Is this the best we can do?
The special counsel's report tells us everything we need to know. The answer isn't good.
Sarah Longwell is executive director of Republicans for the Rule of Law.
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Robert Mueller told us everything we need to know