Dear Commons Community,
As the country awaits the release of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report, Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer are insisting that the entire report and its underlying documentation be released to the public.
On Friday, Mueller submitted his report to Attorney General William Barr, who now has to determine what to do with the conclusions from the 22-month investigation that resulted in charges against 34 people. As a start, he is expected to send lawmakers a summary of the findings as early as today. As reported by the Huffington Post:
“Now that Special Counsel Mueller has submitted his report to the Attorney General, it is imperative for Mr. Barr to make the full report public and provide its underlying documentation and findings to Congress,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said in a joint statement.
Pelosi also held a call with her caucus Saturday afternoon, in which she vowed to oppose any classified briefings for members, according to a person on the call. She said any briefing from the Justice Department must be unclassified so that lawmakers are free to talk publicly about the findings.
Mueller was tasked with looking at whether there was Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. What is known about his report is that it doesn’t recommend any new indictments.
Although the lack of further indictments was a relief to President Donald Trump’s allies, the investigations will continue. Federal and state prosecutors are still pursuing about a dozen probes that largely grew out of Mueller’s work, and Congress continues to look into matters surrounding Trump.
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, made the case for his continued inquiry in a statement Friday.
“Pursuant to the Special Counsel regulations, Mueller’s report is likely to focus on his prosecutorial decisions and may not shed necessary light on counterintelligence findings of profound significance to our committee and the nation — whether the President or others around him have been compromised by a foreign power,” Schiff said, adding that by law, “the evidence he has uncovered on all counterintelligence matters must now be shared with the House Intelligence Committee, whether it resulted in indictment or not.”
And there’s a chance that Mueller could find that Trump engaged in unlawful activity ― whether conspiring with Russia or obstructing an investigation into the matter ― but decided not to indict him because of the Justice Department’s view that a sitting president cannot be indicted.
On Friday, the Democratic chairs of the six House committees conducting Mueller-related investigations warned Barr not to conceal any evidence of misconduct by Trump just because it didn’t result in an indictment.
“To be clear, if the Special Counsel has reason to believe that the President has engaged in criminal or other serious misconduct, then the Justice Department has an obligation not to conceal such information,” they wrote. “The President must be subject to accountability and if the Justice Department is unable to do so, then the need to provide Congress with the relevant information is paramount.”
Trump, who has repeatedly called the Mueller probe a “witch hunt,” has so far not commented ot tweeted on the news that the investigation is over.
For those of you who want a little more Washington insight and commentary, I suggest you read Maureen Dowd’s column published this morning. Especially rich is her comparison of the quiet, no leaks, no comment style of Mueller to that of Ken Starr, the special counsel in President Bill Clinton’s investigation. Here is an excerpt:
“The scene Friday was far more occluded than the media hullabaloo on Sept. 9, 1998, when two dark vans pulled up to Capitol Hill with 36 boxes containing Ken Starr’s report on presidential chicanery.
Starr was a star leaker and showboat, and journalists and the public were quickly able to get their hands on the document on which the fate of the Republic was hanging. It was something of a shock to learn that the supposedly dignified independent counsel — who was once on a shortlist for the Supreme Court — had delivered a 445-page bodice ripper, a trite story of an office affair in all its seamy particulars, told with such sanctimony that it was redolent of Nathaniel Hawthorne.
It was clear that the sins recorded were not black enough to merit impeachment. Politicians in Washington have been having illicit sex and lying about it since George Washington slept here.
But that didn’t stop Republicans from impeaching Bill Clinton that December. In the end, the reputation of Starr and the hypocritical Republicans, some of whom were having their own affairs with young government aides, suffered. And the country suffered as well. Clinton came out more popular…”