Mueller’s report: How much will we see?
Special counsel Robert Mueller is widely expected to deliver his final report on the Russia investigation sometime in the near future, said Chad Day and Eric Tucker in the Associated Press, “but anyone looking for a grand narrative on President Donald Trump, Russian election interference, and all the juicy details uncovered over the past 21 months could end up disappointed.” In indictments Mueller has already filed, he has documented dozens of contacts between Trump’s inner circle and Russians, a clear willingness by Trump’s inner circle to accept Russia’s help, and an elaborate web of lies designed to cover it all up. But Justice Department guidelines require Mueller only to provide the attorney general with a confidential report explaining decisions to pursue or decline prosecutions. “That could be as simple as a bullet-point list or as fulsome as a report running hundreds of pages.” From there, Trump’s handpicked attorney general, William Barr, will decide what information to provide Congress—and the public—in his own summary.
Given that a foreign power tried to sabotage our democracy, said Greg Sargent in The Washington Post, Americans should insist that Barr disclose as much as possible. In his recent confirmation hearings, Barr was cagey, indicating that “regulations” require he release no information on subjects who haven’t been charged with a crime. But since Mueller can’t charge Trump with a crime, Barr must make “maximal disclosure” so that Congress can decide whether the president should be impeached. Face it—nothing Barr produces will satisfy collusion-obsessed Democrats, said Byron York in the Washington Examiner. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff already says he will keep investigating possible collusion “regardless of what Mueller does.”
That’s a good thing, said Dahlia Lithwick in Slate.com. Mueller, a by-the-books lawman, isn’t the crusading superhero liberals have imagined him to be. He’s more likely to drop a minimalist report “and then ghost.” But we already know that Trump’s campaign tried to cover up more than 100 contacts with the Russians; Trump repeatedly tried to obstruct the investigation; and since the election, our compromised president has kowtowed to Russian President Vladimir Putin at virtually every opportunity. Mueller isn’t going to ride in on a unicorn to solve this crisis. We “must be the Muellers we hope to see in the world.”
Reuters, courtesy of Nik Popli/Cavalier Daily