AP NEWS

Stop stalling and release Mueller report

March 29, 2019

Stop the stalling and release the full report compiled by special counsel Robert Mueller into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

With each passing day, suspicions grow that Attorney General William Barr’s delay in providing the report to the Congress and the American people is not driven by legal necessity, but political expediency. For now, the only narrative in front of the nation is the four-page memo Barr released March 22 that likely presented the findings in as favorable a light as possible for President Donald Trump, which suits the White House just fine.

Is Barr’s strategy to let his “no collusion” emphasis solidify as much as possible into the public consciousness before releasing the full report?

That is, if a full report is released. Barr points to the need to scrub the report for material protected by the secrecy of grand jury proceedings or off limits for national security reasons. There is reason to fear that Barr will prepare a sanitized version to protect the president and those around him. Congress must demand as full an accounting as possible.

The attorney general, in his brief memo, stated the “investigation did not find that the Trump campaign or anyone associated with it conspired or coordinated with Russia in its efforts to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election.”

However, the actual language from the report quoted by Barr suggests a more nuanced conclusion: “The investigation did not establish that members of the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government ...” (emphasis added).

Mueller’s actual language suggests the special counsel did find potential coordination but fell short of being able to establish that to a legal standard. Only with access to the full report can Congress and the public get a clear picture of what Mueller found, what he didn’t and what he couldn’t prove.

Further, according to Barr’s memo, on the question of obstruction of justice, Mueller’s report “does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.” Again, Americans deserve to know what Mueller did find.

If the Mueller probe, as Trump keeps crowing about, fully exonerates the president and those around him (at least those who have not yet been arrested, convicted or imprisoned), then Barr should be in a rush to get all the facts out.

Interesting, then, that he is not.