“Subject” v. “Target” of an Investigation

Much is being made of Robert Mueller telling Trump’s lawyers that at this point, Trump is the subject of an investigation but not a target. Trump, of course, thinks that clears him. Pundits on cable channels like CNN warn that “subject” can become “target” in the blink of an eye, and that having a president declared under investigation is pretty damaging stuff in and of itself.

I’m a little disheartened that as yet, Mueller does not seem to have enough evidence to make Trump a target. That might mean that Mueller is keeping his cards close to his vest, or it might mean that while Trump’s conduct is reprehensible to most of us, it falls just shy of being criminal. If you look at Trump’s long business career, which involves conning people out of their life savings to pay for worthless real estate courses, refusing to pay small business contractors who work on his properties, and demanding to renegotiate yet again with lenders even after reaching work-out arrangements, it does seem as if Trump does a lot that is reprehensible but maybe not criminal.

At the end of the day this is, as some pundits have been saying all along, more a political issue. That makes the November elections and control of Congress the deciding factor in whether Trump will ever be held accountable for the immense damage that he is doing to our democracy.

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