I hadn’t planned on writing a post about The Mueller Report … I’m sorry … The William Barr Summary. But sometimes the news gets in the way of the best laid plans. And it’s hard to sit by when the oxygen is being sucked up by Donald Trump and his band of rabid followers. We are where we are.
We have been teased for weeks now that Mueller’s long-awaited report was ready to drop. Finally, on Friday Attorney General Barr alerted the appropriate heads of the Congressional committees that Mueller’s report was indeed, in his hands. He advised them that a summary of Mueller’s findings would be forthcoming before the weekend was over.
Yesterday, the summary was completed and given to Congress and the news media. After a nearly two-year investigation, we got a four page memo. That’s it.
The basic gist of the summary was that Special Counsel Robert Mueller could not find convincing evidence that Donald Trump or anyone in his campaign coordinated or colluded with Russians during the 2016 election. And as far as Trump’s possible obstruction of justice concerning the investigation, Mueller neither implicated the president, nor did he exonerate him. Mr. Barr apparently took it upon himself to clear the president on that issue.
Frankly, the whole thing stinks to high heaven. Mr. Barr was of course appointed by Trump, after forcing out Jeff Sessions, whom he couldn’t stand because of recusing himself from the Mueller investigation. Barr, who seemed to openly campaign for the job by writing an 18 page memo he called Mueller’s ‘obstruction’ theory, has delivered to Trump what Sessions could not. The memo, which clearly came out against charging Trump with obstruction of any kind, should have forced his recusal from the Mueller investigation. Obviously, it did not.
The calls for the full release of the report are coming in loud and clear. Many from both sides of the political aisle are weighing in on it. But the reasons for why Democrats want it released and why Republicans want it released reveal the usual divide along party lines. Many Republicans want to see the report so they can pounce on any irregularities or sources and methods that could allow them to in a sense, investigate the investigator. The Democrats on the other hand want to hear from Mueller himself. Simply hearing from the Attorney General is not enough. There are many questions left unanswered and most Democrats feel that the public deserves a thorough explanation. Trump himself has said he’d have no problem with the full report coming out.
Here’s the deal. There is absolutely no excuse imaginable as to why the full report should not be released. Sure, we know that there’s classified information in the report. Those things should be redacted and handled appropriately. But this needs to be done quickly and without delay. And more than anyone else, Robert Mueller needs to come before Congress and explain his findings. Barr, and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein also need to appear. If they don’t, there will always be a stench associated with this investigation.
Much of the unease around this investigation though, comes from how the president of the United States conducted himself from the very beginning. Certainly his actions did not seem compatible with that of a man who was innocent. Throughout the whole investigation he did nothing but rail against the investigation itself; as well as undermine the reputation of Robert Mueller and much of the FBI. It was a ‘witch hunt.’ It was a conspiracy derived from the ‘deep state.’ Yet today, he said that Mr. Mueller conducted himself admirably. Would he had said the same thing if the results of the investigation was more damaging to the president?
We’re at another pivotal point in our democracy. Attorney General Barr has given President Trump a hollow victory of sorts. His followers are emboldened now. And we also know that this president will crow about his perceived ‘total exoneration,’ as well as go after all of those who openly accused him of colluding with Russia. We know he already has autocratic tendencies. Those tendencies will only get worse.
But, he’s also facing scores of investigations in progress at this very moment. He’ll call them all ‘presidential harassment.’ Perhaps he escapes them all. He seems a bit like John Gotti, who was called the ‘teflon Don.’ In other words, nothing sticks to him. However, eventually Mr. Gotti’s luck ran out. Eventually his deeds caught up to him. Will the same happen to Donald Trump?
The Mueller investigation was not a witch hunt. There were credible allegations that Trump and his team were in constant contact with the Russians. We needed to know the extent of those contacts and we needed to know what the Russians did and how they did it. We need to see all of Mueller’s findings. Only then will be able to move on from this. A four page summary won’t cut it.
Release the full report.