Why Democrats are likely to be just as disappointed by full Mueller report – Washington Examiner
After Robert Mueller’s investigation wrapped up without any indictments of President Trump or his inner circle for conspiring with Russia, and after Attorney General William Barr released his summary memo announcing Mueller had found no collusion, Democrats are holding out hope that the release of the full Mueller memo will be damaging to Trump. But they are likely to be disappointed.
To be clear, last month, I argued that Barr should release the full Mueller report. It’s a position also adopted institutionally by Tuesday’s Washington Examiner editorial, which allows for a minimal number of absolutely necessary redactions. So, I’m all for getting it all out there, along with underlying documents and supporting evidence. Furthermore, I get the understandable skepticism about the Barr letter. Given that he was Trump’s appointed AG, there’s every reason to not want to take his summary at face value.
All of that said, I’d be surprised if the full Mueller report substantially changes anybody’s conclusions about the Trump-Russia story.
To start, Barr’s summary is also supported by the fact that we already know all of the people who have been indicted by Mueller, and none of them are being prosecuted for collusion. He also didn’t go after Donald Trump Jr. or son in law Jared Kushner. All of the coverage we’ve read in the past two years about the walls closing in on Trump have involved Mueller slowly building his case, with escalating indictments getting closer and closer to the president. That did not pan out.
Then there’s the issue of obstruction, on which, according to Barr’s account, Mueller was more equivocal. Barr writes: “The report’s second part addresses a number of actions by the President — most of which have been the subject of public reporting — that the Special Counsel investigated as potentially raising obstruction-of-justice concerns. After making a ‘thorough factual investigation’ into these matters, the Special Counsel considered whether to evaluate the conduct under Department standards governing prosecution and declination decisions but ultimately determined not to make a traditional prosecutorial judgment. The Special Counsel therefore did not draw a conclusion — one way or the other — as to whether the examined conduct constituted obstruction. Instead, for each of the relevant actions investigated, the report sets out evidence on both sides of the question and leaves unresolved what the Special Counsel views as ‘difficult issues’ of law and fact concerning whether the President’s actions and intent could be viewed as obstruction. The Special Counsel states that ‘while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.'”
Unless Barr is making this up out of whole cloth, the fact that most of this evidence concerns actions that have mostly been the subject of public reporting makes in likely that the Mueller report simply is laying out various Trump actions that we already know about, and then presenting the arguments as to why it may or may not constitute obstruction. This has essentially been the public debate for the past two years. For instance, when Trump fired former FBI director James Comey, some people argued it was obstruction, others argued that this was absurd, the president has total authority to fire the FBI director. I imagine that any sort of debate coming out of the Mueller report is going to be much of the same.