Debate over the public release of Special Counsel Mueller’s report causes tensions to flare in Washington
Special Counsel Robert Mueller concluded his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election this week, sending his full report to Attorney General William Barr. AG Barr released a four-page memo after receiving the report, summarizing the findings. Two points of his summary have been in headlines and fueled political debate.
First, the Special Counsel explicitly did not exonerate President Donald Trump in his investigation. Second, Mueller did not make a judgement on whether the president obstructed justice, instead laying out the evidence on either side. This led Barr and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to review Mueller’s evidence and conclude that the president did not obstruct justice. This conclusion, that the president did not obstruct justice, is likely to be the point of political battles and legal action throughout the coming months.
Republicans and the Trump Administration have claimed total victory and exoneration, while Congressional Democrats have called for the release of the full report, citing the summary indicating the obstruction conclusion was not Mueller’s, but the result of the Attorney General’s conclusions.
While the House of Reps. voted 420-0 to push for the public release of the report, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham have both blocked similar motions in the Senate. A Fox News poll found that 52% of voters still want the Mueller Report released publicly, placing increasing pressure on lawmakers and Attorney General Barr.
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