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Nation Demands To Read Full Mueller Report As Coverup Feared

Conservatives have been crowing that Mueller’s investigation into Russian efforts to sway the 2016 election to Trump cleared the president of any wrongdoing, but we still have yet to see the full report. Now, many are balking at the “no collusion” narrative advanced by Trump’s Attorney General Bill Barr—that Mueller’s investigation did not “establish” that the President or his campaign conspired with the Russian government to interfere in the 2016 election.

Barr offered a brief summary of the two-year investigation, short on quotes and leaning heavily on “weasel words.” In it, he claimed the responsibility to decide to charge (or in this case decline to charge) any wrongdoing found, citing Mueller. But there’s some indication Mueller didn’t intend for him to do so. According to the Daily Beast, someone with direct knowledge of the investigation thought Mueller was leaving the matter up to Congress, not Barr.

“Mueller was making a case to Congress, who (unlike DOJ, in Mueller’s view) is empowered to weigh the lawfulness of a president’s conduct,” the individual described their interpretation of Mueller’s thinking.

If that’s the case then Mueller’s report seems to have taken an unscheduled detour through a partisan vetting process that’s currently shaping the “no collusion” narrative on the right (and in the media).

Barr is expected to provide the report (albeit redacted) to Congress, but it might not matter. He’s already appropriated Mueller’s independence to give Trump and Republicans the partisan cocoon they need to insulate themselves from any future bad news, which will be spun as “partisan.”

Still, calls for the full report to be released are getting louder. The hashtag #ReleaseTheFullMuellerReport started trending today, and Democratic leaders are becoming more aggressive in their calls for answers. Stacey Abrams likened Barr’s summary to “having your brother summarize your report card to your parents.”

But it could be worse than that. Barr has a history of using legal maneuvering to help a Republican president to get away with questionable activity. Before key officials could testify to the independent counsel investigating the Iran-Contra scandal, Barr advised President George H.W. Bush—who could have been implicated in the scandal—to issuepardons to all of them.

Of course, it certainly seems if Barr was over his skis in his interpretation of the principal conclusions of the report, Mueller would have piped up to correct him. It’s entirely possible Mueller uncovered evidence that fell short of “beyond a reasonable doubt” and decided to leave the matter up to Congress, which is still a far cry from “no collusion.”

I’ll take a deep breath and say it for (hopefully) the last time: We’ll know more once we can read Mueller’s full report.

h/t: Daily Beast, Slate