Last week, special counsel Robert Mueller submitted his Russian election interference investigation report to the Department of Justice, calling for no new indictments. To President Donald Trump supporters, the submission of this report seemed like an exoneration for the president and his business and campaign associates.
Mueller’s investigation was the most probable path for Trump’s impeachment, which now seems even more unlikely than before. Although the investigation is complete, many are calling for the full release of the 300-page report, rather than relying on Trump-appointed Attorney General William Barr’s four-page summary.
The New York Times reported the length of the paper, noting that Mueller used most of the report to back up the evidence he gathered. While Barr’s summary may have summed up the indictment recommendations, many in the public wonder if they will ever get to see the evidence Mueller collected.
Democratic representatives demanded that the full report be released to the public by April 3, which the Department of Justice responded by promising a version of the report within weeks, with the sensitive information redacted. The Mueller report poses an interesting question about how much information the American public is entitled to, and how willing our officials are to share it.
Personally, I believe that the public should be able to view as much of the report that doesn’t contain any confidential information, but I also think the details aren’t entirely the point of the investigation’s conclusion.
The controversial part is the response of our president to a legal investigation of his campaigns and business dealings. Throughout the special counsel’s probe, Trump has been outspoken about his opinion on the proclaimed “witch hunt.”
The term witch hunt alludes to colonial America’s investigations and persecutions of suspected witches, when the accused couldn’t possibly have done what they’re being investigated for. It is completely inappropriate for a sitting president to undermine a special counsel investigation, much less lie about it.
Mueller’s investigation led to the indictment of 34 different people and three entities. If it really were a witch hunt, it would appear to be the most successful one in history. Not to mention, five of Trump’s personal associates were convicted. As an American, not only do the 200 separate criminal charges disgust me, but the fact that Mueller was able to indict them makes me proud.
If Trump really believes there was no collusion, why wouldn’t he denounce and distance himself everyone indicted or convicted? Why wouldn’t he support Mueller’s work of convicted guilty traitors?
The short answer is that no one in the public really knows why. Even if Mueller did fully exonerate the president, it wouldn’t make sense why he wouldn’t celebrate the investigation with open arms.
The one theory I have is that Trump is using this report and the entire probe as another 2020 campaign talking point to garner support from anti-big government conservatives. By sporadically tweeting out “WITCH HUNT” an all capital letters, Trump is riling up his crowd and giving them another enemy and another scapegoat.
Maybe the more strategic move for the left would be to emphasize what the investigation was able to complete, then move on. The longer they stay focused on getting the details of the report, the more time Trump has to milk his faux exoneration. By focusing instead on policy improvements, the eventual 2020 Democratic nominee can learn from Hillary Clinton’s mistakes and not play into Trump’s nonsense.