There May Be A Lot More in the Mueller Report Than We Know So Far & Americans Want to Judge for
President Donald Trump is acting as if Attorney General William Barr's four page summary of Robert Mueller's report is the final word on the Special Counsel's investigation of Russia's interference in the 2016 election. But, Americans aren't buying that.
NPR: "Days after Attorney General William Barr released his four-page summary of special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation report, overwhelming majorities of Americans want the full report made public and believe Barr and Mueller should testify before Congress, according to a new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll."
"Only about a third of Americans believe, from what they've seen or heard about the Mueller investigation so far, that President Trump is clear of any wrongdoing." ....
President Trump and his media supporters have spent the last week celebrating what they claim is complete exoneration even though Barr hinted at substantial evidence of obstruction of justice in his letter to Congress and many questions remain unanswered. For instance, what about all those contacts between the Trump campaign and Russian officials, and the release of the Clinton campaign emails, and the Trump Tower meeting? And why did President Putin work so hard to have Donald Trump elected? It's quite possible that the overall narrative will change quite a bit once we get those answers and see the details in Mueller's report. Those details may well be far less complementary than Barr's summary would have us believe.
In a piece for the Washingtonian, Barbara McQuade, professor at the University of Michigan Law School and former United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan notes that the report may contain substantial evidence of wrongdoing that doesn't meet the high bar of criminality.
Washingtonian: "It is quite possible that the Mueller report contains facts of serious misconduct by President Trump or his associates that do not collectively arise to the level of conspiracy with Russia to interfere with the election. Prosecution of cases may be declined for many reasons—insufficient evidence that is admissible under the Rules of Evidence; overriding intelligence equities that require protection of sources and methods of intelligence collection; or conduct that is wrongful, but that does not meet the technical elements of any criminal statutes enacted by Congress...."
So, the Mueller report may well lay out substantial evidence of wrongful behavior that Americans will find reprehensible, but falls short of a criminal conspiracy. Andrew Sullivan has it about right in his new piece about Barr's letter for New York Magazine:
"None of this is to say this is over. No one apart from a handful of people have read the actual report, which is over 300 pages. Bill Barr’s understanding of presidential power (he comes close to believing it’s absolute) makes his interpretation of whether Trump obstructed justice highly unreliable. When we get to read the report — and the detail in the narrative will matter a lot — we’ll find out more. I suspect it will be more damning than most Republicans now believe, but less definitive than many Democrats hope."
We aren't done with Robert Mueller yet, not by a long shot.