Don't release the Mueller report
Washington is clamoring for the release of the full report produced by Robert Mueller's special counsel investigation. Some people, including the president himself, want it to see the light of day because they think it will further vindicate Donald Trump. Some insist that Attorney General William Barr, an old friend of Mueller, must somehow have misrepresented the special counsel's conclusions. Others still just don't want this story to go away because it gives them something to write about and discuss on television. Publishers are listing editions of the report on Amazon with projected page counts and made-up release dates. Even Audible wants in on the action.
But they are all wrong. The Mueller report should not be released to the public any time soon. I, for one, would be happy to see it gathering dust in an archive somewhere until it is forgotten in 50 or a hundred years, only to be rediscovered long after the dissolution of the American empire by some bespectacled antiquary, who will publish an elaborate four-volume critical study of it entitled Die Lese- und Schreibfehler im Müller-Testament.
Let me rain on everyone's parade. The final victory sought by Trump and his allies is not waiting in a boring document that might be more than a thousand pages long. These would not make for exhilarating reading. Even if Mueller had recommended further indictments, he would not have prepared an anti-Trump manifesto in order to argue for them. What does the president think he is going to obtain from a negative, from the absence of conspiracy, in all those official words? A painstakingly formal procedural account account of how nothing, after two years of investigation, is still nothing is of no value to anyone except the attorney general — which is to say, the intended audience.
Besides, the damage to his presidency has already been done. No amount of mind-numbing legalese can reverse the fact that he was attempting to secure peace for the Korean Peninsula while the rest of the world watched one of his former employees shed crocodile tears in front of a House committee. The most Trump can hope for is to argue to voters in 2020 that, while he did his best to keep most of his promises, he was fighting with one hand behind his back. Another four or five months of back-and-forth about the details of the report is not going to make this easier.
What about Democrats? It's hard even to know where to begin. For two years the Mueller investigation has been the blank canvas on which liberals have painted all their fantasies. Hillary Clinton didn't lose the election because she was an unlikeable candidate who all but stole her party's nomination from a would-be challenger who had more energy, to say nothing of policy prescriptions voters are actually interested in. It was stolen from her, and from all decent patriotic Americans, by evil James Bond-type Ruskie villains, who cut a deal with her opponent over a failed hotel bid. This sounded dumb back in 2016. Today it sounds both moronic and passé. If you think "The pee tape might still be out there, guys, we just have to read read Mueller's footnotes!" is going to win back Ohio in 2020, go ahead. But I suspect at least some of these people know better.
The only people who really stand to gain anything from the release of the full report are journalists. Because we all know people who have lived and breathed the Russia investigation for as long as two of my children have been alive, we fondly imagine that there is some kind of unquenchable thirst out there for more. I doubt it.
But even if this were the case it's worth asking whether it would really be responsible. There is a whole world out there full of things worth reporting on, some of which have nothing to do with either Trump or Washington or even politics in the conventional sense of the word. Just yesterday I saw an appalling story about Muslim butchers being denied permission to open a shop in Alexandria, Virginia, because some local dog owners object. "Knowing that my dogs may be walked by a business that holds chickens in a windowless room before their throats are slit while fully conscious does not make me feel that my dogs are in a safe environment" is something an allegedly sentient adult told the city council. This abject bigotry is something we should be having a national conversation about.
It's time to move on from Mueller. I realize this isn't a popular sentiment in either TrumpWorld or the liberal whine-o-sphere, but I suspect it's how millions of Americans feel. The 2016 election is history. The pointless investigation that attempted to prolong it — in the same way Raiders fans used to play the fifth quarter in the parking lot after a loss — should be too. History doesn't need to be written today.