The Mueller investigation is finished. But do students care?

Special counsel Robert Mueller was appointed by the Justice Department in May 2017. Some Chapman students have not followed the investigation due to busy schedules and lack of interest. Wiki Commons

The Mueller report has captivated Democrats and Republicans alike for 22 months, and according to an NPR poll, 76 percent of adults in the United States want to see the 300-page report made public, but some college-aged students are not as concerned.

“I’m just busy, so I haven’t had time to wrap my head around the Mueller case,” said Rotem Azariya, a senior business administration major. “I have not researched enough to know my opinion.”

The investigation has been somewhat of a cloud over President Donald Trump’s administration for 22 months and has been the subject of varying media coverage and political debate between parties.

After the conclusions from special counsel Robert Mueller’s findings were summarized in a March 24 four-page letter by attorney general William Barr, Trump took to Twitter to claim “total” exoneration.

The special counsel did not find that the Trump campaign “conspired or coordinated with the Russian government,” according to Barr’s summary of the report, but also said Trump has not been “exonerated” in regards to obstruction of justice concerns.

In the wake of the report’s delivery to Barr and the letter’s contested release to the public, cable outlets and news sources alike covered the news intensely. But do voters feel the same sense of concern? A February Pew Research Center poll found that, on a list of American voters’ main concerns, Russia and government corruption did not rank among top issues. Top priorities for Republicans include the economy and immigration, while those of Democrats include Medicare and education.

“It’s hard to force people to be informed. People just need to have the interest and look for the information,” said Sam Reinhart, a senior screen acting major.

Tom Campbell, a law professor who served as a U.S. senator in the 1990s and early 2000s, told The Panther that students should read Barr’s summary for themselves and seek unbiased analysis.

“I recommend that students …decide for themselves as opposed to commentators who are antagonistic or support the president,” Campbell said. “There are few neutral commentators, so go to the web, and make your own judgment.”

Mueller did not indict Trump because a sitting president cannot be indicted, though he or she can be impeached, Campbell said.

“That would totally disrupt the president’s ability to run the executive branch, Campbell said.

Two presidents have been impeached, Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton. Richard Nixon resigned before a vote was held regarding impeachment proceedings, for his role in the Watergate scandal.

Although no collusion has been found between the Trump campaign and Russia based on Barr’s summary, 34 people involved in the campaign have been indicted or have pleaded guilty to crimes, like former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who pleaded guilty to finance fraud and faces 47 months in prison.

“Trump is taking a victory lap but more than 30 people have been indicted for various crimes,” said John Compton, a political science professor at Chapman who teaches courses in constitutional law.

Tristan Spangler-Dunning, a sophomore history major, told The Panther he followed updates on the case.

“When the results came out, I was surprised,” he said. “It’s important for students to follow that type of information, because when someone’s being investigated, it’s for something. People think ignorance is bliss, but you miss a lot of important details about who to vote for next.”

Compton said he plans to incorporate the Mueller investigation into his teachings.

“The whole situation highlights a problem within our system,” Compton said. “If the president is accused of doing something bad, it’s hard to investigate those crimes because the president is in charge of the apparatus.”