Mueller: “If we had had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so.” C-Span

Former Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller threw another log on the impeachment fire last week when he appeared publicly to clarify that his report did not exonerate President Donald Trump from obstruction of justice, contradicting Trump’s “No collusion, no obstruction” mantra.

None of Connecticut’s congressional delegates are ready to call for impeachment, however — not even Sen. Richard Blumenthal, who assessed the special prosecutor’s comments this way:  “Mueller reaffirmed the point made by me and nearly one thousand fellow former federal prosecutors: Donald Trump would be in handcuffs, criminally indicted, but for his being President of the United States.”

Trump lashed out in response and turned the nation’s attention to two of his favorite subjects, immigration and tariffs, saying he would impose stiff tariffs on Mexico if it doesn’t control the influx of Central American asylum seekers across the U.S. border.

Trump has never been the most popular among Connecticut’s Democratic-leaning electorate, but so far has raised $86,000 here, a quarter of percent of the $35 million he has raised nationally for his re-election campaign.

Things are going more smoothly for Connecticut’s chief executive, Gov. Ned Lamont, who now has a tentative deal with fellow Democrats on a two-year $43 million budget – apparently achieved without need of a special legislative session.

The deal apparently settles a long-running dispute with Connecticut’s hospital industry, and has been accomplished without imposing an additional income tax on the wealthiest residents as some progressive Democrats wanted.  (The fate of an income tax on pass-through entities is still pending, however.)

Lamont’s willingness to sign into law the $15 minimum wage bill created an awkward moment with the progressives who were still smarting over his threatened veto of proposed family leave legislation. (Relations are better now, most likely, since Lamont dropped his threat and accepted a modified family leave plan.)

More upsetting for the progressives, perhaps, was the melt-down of the so-called public health insurance option legislation that was under heavy fire – Comptroller Kevin Lembo would say a threat —  from the insurance industry.

Celebration in the House gallery after the passage of paid family and medical leave. mark pazniokas / ctmirror.org

The state’s hard-pressed and long underfunded nonprofit service providers are not likely doing handsprings either after being rebuffed by the governor in their request for a $100 million infusion of cash now that the state anticipates a $2.6 billion surplus by September.

The General Assembly is now reaching the end of its session and is cranking out measures left and right. (The cranking can result in some crankiness among lawmakers, by the way, as evidenced last Friday.)

The State Senate voted Friday to raise the minimum age for purchase of tobacco products and e-cigarettes to 21, and the governor is expected to sign it into law. He will also be asked to sign a bill that requires schools to offer a course in black, Latino ad Puerto Rican history.

Quiet negotiations with police following shootings in Whethersfield and New Haven also led to the Senate’s unanimous passage of a bill prohibiting officers from firing at motor vehicles unless there is an imminent threat to the life of an officer or bystander.

For its part, the House passed a bill that expands post traumatic stress disorder benefits to first responders, a measure that has been seven years in the making. It also moved to control bullying in schools.

In a more controversial move, the House voted 79-61 for final passage of revisions to the Trust Act of 2013, making it more difficult for immigration officials to execute a detainer against undocumented immigrants in police custody.

And in a different — and literal — move, former Gov. Dannel Malloy decided he would take the job as chancellor of the public university system in Maine, a mission he sees as a continuation of his role as “a community service provider.”

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Paul has more than 40 years of reporting and editing experience at newspapers in New Jersey, Florida and Connecticut. He worked 22 years at the Hartford Courant in various editing roles including as deputy state editor, assistant editor of Northeast Magazine, and as an associate editor at Courant.com. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Rutgers University. A trained chef, he and his wife own and operate a bed and breakfast in an historic home in Mansfield.

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