Unredacted report needed
To the editor:
In a recent appearance before Congress, Attorney General William Barr promised Congress they’d have a redacted version of the Mueller report any day now. Now, I can understand why he wouldn’t want to release an unredacted version to the public, but I don’t think the executive branch is the group that should be in charge of redacting it, and Congress should be given access to the entire report. After all, every person in the special prosecutor’s office has seen the unredacted version. They wrote it. If we trust them to keep the redacted parts secret, couldn’t and shouldn’t Congress be trusted as well?
Meanwhile, Trump’s claiming, based on Barr’s summary, that he is vindicated by the report, but that nobody should see what it actually says? This brings up at least four issues.
First, the idea that Trump’s been vindicated — there are at least four sub-problems there as far as I can see. The first is that the report doesn’t vindicate Trump on the charge of obstruction. Rather, it leaves the determination as to whether Trump should be charged to the whim of a man who had previously written in a memo that he doesn’t believe a sitting president can be charged with obstruction. In other words, Mueller almost certainly presented a case that Trump committed textbook obstruction (which we know he did on at least two occasions,) but Barr doesn’t consider that a crime when a president does it.
Those occasions were when Trump fired Comey to stop the investigation into collusion (he admitted as much,) and when Trump composed a letter for his son that lied about the Trump Tower meeting’s purposes. Mueller might have reported on other instances.
The second problem with the idea that Trump’s been cleared of collusion is that he wasn’t. Rather, Barr tells us Mueller found that Trump didn’t technically violate the laws regarding criminal conspiracy. In other words, Trump probably skated on a technicality, but he definitely colluded. Collusion isn’t a legal term. It’s a colloquial one. Trump colluded if he did anything a layman would consider colluding. I consider the letter I mentioned above collusion, as well as going on TV and asking Russian hackers to look into Hillary’s e-mails. So is phoning Putin’s buddy, al Bashir, to warn him that we were going to bomb an airfield. So is giving polling data to Kilimnik. The list goes on.
The third problem is that the Barr letter doesn’t tell us anything about what Mueller found regarding kompromat, which if such exists (and it almost certainly does) means that Trump or members of his team are compromised and subject to Kremlin influence.
The fourth problem with the suggestion that the Mueller report vindicates Trump is that until we see it, we don’t know what it says. We didn’t even get the Cliff’s Notes version. We got a book report on “Tom Sawyer” written by Injun Joe’s advocate. This is why we, the level-headed left, need Congress to see an unredacted report.
J. David Core