Robert Mueller by DonkeyHotey, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0/Original
One of the big Democrat talking points has been their assertion that the Department of Justice will redact so much of the report that no one will be able to read it and, by the way, Congress is legally entitled to see the whole report. I’ve been skeptical of this for some time for two reasons. First, Mueller knew the report was going to be made public in some form and he’s been around long enough to know that redacted portions of the report will only fuel speculation and, if his goal is to provide definitive answers, that is not helpful. I’ve been an IG investigator and when preparing reports you always do it with an eye to how much of the report you want to shield from FOIA requests. My suspicion is that Mueller wanted more, rather than less, of this report released. The second factor is that the interests of the White House are best served by releasing as much as is legally possible. They know that redactions will be portrayed as a cover up by Fat Jerry Nadler and Pencil Neck Schiff and the rest so it is in their interest to go for maximum transparency and undermine what is obviously the central line of attack by the Democrats.
The Washington Post is reporting that, indeed, the report is only “lightly” redacted, or at least the part dealing with alleged obstruction by President Trump.
The Justice Department plans to release a lightly redacted version of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s 400-page report Thursday, offering a granular look at the ways in which President Trump was suspected of having obstructed justice, people familiar with the matter said.
The report — the general outlines of which the Justice Department has briefed the White House on — will reveal that Mueller decided he could not come to a conclusion on the question of obstruction because it was difficult to determine Trump’s intent and because some of his actions could be interpreted innocently, these people said. But it will offer a detailed blow-by-blow of the president’s alleged conduct — analyzing tweets, private threats and other episodes at the center of Mueller’s inquiry, they added.
While the report’s light redactions might allay some of their concerns, Democrats are likely to bristle at any material that is withheld. What the Justice Department and Trump’s lawyers might view as modest, lawmakers might see as overly aggressive. The redacted version of the report is expected to reveal extensive details about Trump’s actions in office that came under scrutiny, but it is unclear how much the public will learn about how the special counsel’s team investigated the Kremlin’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 election and Russian contacts with Trump associates.
What you’re seeing there is an acknowledgement that both sides see the alleged obstruction as the biggest political threat to President Trump. This will ultimately be a Rashomon exercise. If you believe he obstructed the investigation–despite the fact that you are reading it today–then you will continue to believe it. If you find the whole idea rather ludicrous in light of an investigation that lasted from at least July 2016 until a couple of weeks ago, then nothing will change your mind.
The fact that the entire focus is on obstruction indicates that even Adam Schiff doesn’t believe in the collusion hoax.
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