WASHINGTON — Robert Mueller testified before Congress Wednesday. Meanwhile, out there in the real world:
• A federal judge in California was issuing an injunction blocking a new Trump administration policy that would have flatly denied most Central American migrants the right to lawfully seek asylum at the southern border.
• Attorney General William Barr was preparing an announcement, released Thursday, that the federal government will resume carrying out the death penalty after an effective 16-year moratorium. He promptly ordered prison officials to set execution dates for five federal death-row inmates.
• Europe was roasting in an unprecedented heat wave, with triple-digit temperature records being set across the continent. Paris had by far its hottest day ever on Thursday: an incredible 108 degrees. Scientists linked the phenomenon to human-induced climate change, which President Trump ridiculously has claimed is a hoax.
So yes, by all means, let's parse Mueller's daylong appearance at the witness table and argue about what it may mean for the likelihood of an impeachment inquiry that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has never wanted to launch. But amid the spin, we must not lose sight of the fact that the Trump administration continues to wield a wrecking ball against federal law, sensible public policy and the nation's moral standing.
Of course Trump obstructed justice; we watched him do it in real time. Of course he welcomed Russian assistance in winning his narrow 2016 victory; he did it publicly.
Look at the immigration crisis — and yes, it is a humanitarian crisis, largely because Trump made it one, responding to a flood of legal asylum-seekers by cruelly separating families and putting children in cages. The law is clear: Migrants fleeing persecution have the right to ask for asylum and have their petitions seriously considered.
Judge Jon Tigar halted the administration's plan in its tracks, setting the stage for a legal battle.
Barr's announcement about the death penalty, meanwhile, came out of the blue. The federal government has not executed anyone since 2003. Barr ordered officials to schedule the executions of five men convicted of especially heinous murders of children.
During the moratorium, public support for the death penalty dropped from about 70% to about 56%, according to Gallup. No matter. The moral arc of history is a concept lost on Trump and his aides.
Days after much of the United States sweltered in punishing heat, it was Europe's turn to suffer. The heat wave fits the prediction of climate researchers that the warming of the atmosphere, caused by the buildup of carbon dioxide that results from the burning of fossil fuels, will make extreme weather events more common — and more extreme. Yet Trump wants to boost carbon emissions, not reduce them.
Yes, pay attention to Mueller. But pay more attention to the havoc this ignorant, divisive president is wreaking.
Eugene Robinson's email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.