Whatever the Mueller Report Says, the Nation Needs to See It.

By Daily Editorials

March 20, 2019 4 min read

For two years, America has been deeply divided over special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in U.S. elections and possible coordination with Donald Trump's presidential campaign. Trump and many other Republicans maintain there was — to use the president's favored phrasing — "no collusion!"

If not, then they should be clamoring for the Republican-controlled Senate to join House Democrats in demanding that Mueller's report be made public. In any case, the issues are too crucial to our democracy to stay hidden.

That Russia interfered with the 2016 elections via hacking, social media campaigns and other methods isn't seriously in dispute. U.S. intelligence agencies are clear on that, despite Trump's public contradiction of them.

Whether Trump's campaign was involved in that interference is a key question. Incidents like the Trump Tower meeting between top campaign officials and a Kremlin-connected attorney were a major focus of Mueller's probe.

Trump himself prompted Mueller's investigation by firing FBI Director James Comey in what he admitted was a bid to end the FBI's Russia inquiry. After that, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein's decision to appoint a special prosecutor was a virtual necessity.

Mueller has since indicted 37 people or entities, including people close to Trump. The case against his former lawyer, Michael Cohen, adds to the intrigue about any personal involvement by Trump in campaign fraud by buying off a mistress to avoid political embarrassment. Longtime Trump associate Roger Stone's case is tied to the infamous WikiLeaks mischief against Hillary Clinton.

Efforts by Trump to portray Mueller's investigation as a series of dry holes are demonstrably wrong. While no American is yet accused of working directly with Russia, the probe has exposed a sobering level of criminality among some of the president's closest confidants.

Trump, of course, hasn't been indicted. That could indicate innocence, or just reflect Justice Department guidelines against indicting sitting presidents. Unless the public sees Mueller's report, there's no way to know which it is.

Mueller's report will go directly to William Barr, Trump's newly appointed attorney general, who will decide whether and what to release publicly. During Barr's confirmation hearings in January, he was ominously vague about what he might do.

The nonbinding resolution the House passed last week is meant as a clear message to Barr: This report, whatever it says, needs to be disclosed.

Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, generally a Trump supporter, has co-sponsored a similar but binding measure in the Senate. But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refuses to allow a vote on it, and the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., formally blocked the House bill on Thursday.

Republicans who aren't afraid of the truth should demand the report's release. Especially those who believe Trump is innocent. What better way to prove it than to lay the matter on the table for all to review?

REPRINTED FROM THE ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH

Photo credit: at Pixabay

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