The Mueller report comes out Thursday. Expect it to be a political prop – Washington Examiner
On Thursday, a fight over two sentences becomes a fight over hundreds of pages. When Attorney General William Barr sent his letter summarizing the findings of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report last month, there were just two sentences, or perhaps parts of sentences, from Mueller’s actual report quoted in the letter:
Those two snippets were more than enough to set off a firestorm of speculation, criticism, and the requisite partisan spin that fuels Washington. President Trump even claimed total exoneration based those few dozen words.
The full, but redacted, Mueller report will come out Thursday and there will be plenty of additional material. But whatever is in there, whatever isn’t, and whatever is speculated to be under the redactions will surely offer plenty of fodder for new debates on every aspect of the investigation.
The report, then, isn’t likely to provide a definitive answer that will once and for all allow the country to move on from the spectacle of an investigation and casual accusations of treason. Instead, it will, like Barr’s letters, just open the next chapter of the debate. Everyone will find, or at least see, what they want in the text.
That means that the Mueller report itself is less important than the political narratives that will shape how the nation understands it. Indeed, few are ever likely to read a dense report that is hundreds of pages long and chock-full of redactions.
Already, Trump’s lawyer and frequent on-camera defender, Rudy Giuliani, is preparing to get a head start on shaping how the report is understood. He has already prepared a counter-report to be released on as soon as Mueller’s findings come out.
But the real fight for what the Mueller story is will be center stage tomorrow. And once it’s out, Mueller’s words themselves will simply be a prop in service of specific interpretations.
So, how to sort it all out? Read it yourself.