A two-year wait for the results of an investigation into whether then presidential candidate Donald Trump and/or his campaign staff colluded with Russia has now fizzled down to four pages.
Special Counsel Robert Mueller finally released his findings this week – but not to the general public; nor to the U. S. Congress. Instead, he sent his full report to Trump-appointed Attorney General William Barr, who reduced the findings to a four-page letter to leading members of Congress. That letter, Barr said, outlined Mueller’s “principle conclusions.”
The first of the conclusions stated that Mueller “did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities”. This is the finding that came as a shock to those who had hoped for clarity on why so many Trump associates either lied about meetings or conversations with Russians. It is also a mystery why Trump refuses to criticize Russian President Vladimir Putin and why he is so secretive about their private conversations.
With no clear answers the NAACP and Congressional leaders are demanding the release of the full report.
“The nation must consider the Mueller report in its entirety. Anything short of complete transparency is unacceptable,” NAACP President Derrick Johnson said in a statement March 24. “Attorney General William Barr’s principal conclusions submitted to Congress today raise more questions than answers. The American people deserve to see the full report and findings from the investigation, not just a summary from Trump’s hand-picked Attorney General.”
The fizzling of the long-awaited so-called “Mueller Report” has now become new fuel for Trump, who has contended all along that there was “no collusion” and who called it all a “witch hunt” repeatedly.
“After a long investigation, after so many people have been so badly hurt, after not looking at the other side, where a lot of bad things happened, a lot of horrible things happened, and a lot of bad things happened for our country, it was just announced there was no collusion with Russia – the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard,” Trump told reporters shortly after the announcement. “It was a shame our country had to go through this. To be honest it’s a shame that your President has had to go through this since before I even got elected it began.”
Trump also added that there was “no obstruction” and said, “It was a complete and total exoneration”. But Mueller apparently did not go that far.
According to Barr’s summary, Mueller’s report, “leaves unresolved what the Special Counsel views as difficult issues of law and fact concerning whether the President’s actions and intent could be viewed as obstruction.”
Without the full report on findings of the detailed investigation, members of Congress say they and the general public have been shorted.
“We should not construe a four-page letter from the Attorney General with the complete findings of Special Counsel Mueller’s investigation,” wrote U.S. House Majority Whip James E. Clyburn in a statement. “The entire findings of the report must be made public to Congress and the American people before we draw any conclusions. In the meantime, Congress will continue to fulfill its oath to uphold the constitution by providing oversight of this administration.”
The announcement of the closure of the report appears to have started more than it finished. As civil rights leaders have encountered yet another attack on the freedom of Black people; they are gearing up for yet another fight.
“It is even more imperative that we have full access to the Mueller report and evidentiary basis to learn the facts surrounding Donald Trump’s actions and potential attacks on the integrity of our democracy,” concludes Johnson. “We are entitled to know everything about Russia’s brazen attacks on our political system. This includes how Russia manipulated voters in the United States, fomented racial division among voters through social media and other means, and targeted the African-American community in extraordinary fashion to suppress voter turnout.”