The Washington Post serves up a lively, graphic version of the foundational document in the current presidential impeachment process.
Issued in April 2019, the so-called Mueller Report investigated Donald Trump’s ties to Russia before, during, and after the 2016 campaign. Although its subject trumpeted that the report exonerated him, the Post team, headed by investigative political reporter Rosalind Helderman and augmented by Israeli graphic artist and illustrator Jan Feindt, observes at the start that the report made two things clear: It established that the Russian effort to influence the election was “sweeping and systematic” and left open the question of whether Trump committed a crime for trying to obstruct the investigation. This interference was well known long before Mueller set pen to paper, but Republican leaders in Congress swept it under the rug. Feindt has a straightforward editorial style of drawing that captures Trump’s every barking snarl and pouting snit. While the storyline is eminently faithful to Mueller’s more detailed documentation, the writers and artist bring drama to it by showing the many points of resistance within Trump’s staff—Chris Christie deciding he would not act as a shill to try to swing James Comey into Trump’s camp, deputy national security adviser K.T. McFarland’s refusal to lie for Trump in exchange for an ambassadorial appointment, which, Reince Priebus feared, would “be seen as a quid pro quo,” a term much in the news of late. In an analysis, Helderman and her associates observe that these aides and staffers restrained Trump, for they quickly determined that “if they ignored or delayed the president’s most impetuous orders, his mood and attention would often shift.” Of course, those staffers are now gone, and so are the restraints they imposed. The illustrated report closes, as did the original, with an admonition that has doubtless troubled Trump’s sleep ever since: “While this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime…it also does not exonerate him.”
Readers seeking an overview of the Mueller Report that constantly cuts to the chase will find this just the ticket.