As the repercussions of special counsel Robert Mueller’s late Friday afternoon bombshell announcement that he has concluded his investigation continue to reverberate throughout Washington, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer have called on Attorney General William Barr to make the “full report public” in no uncertain terms. Seeking to head off any possibility of allowing the White House and President Donald Trump’s legal team first crack at the document before anyone else gets a look at it, the Democratic Party leaders issued a sternly-worded letter to the newly-confirmed attorney general, according to a CNN report.
Schumer and Pelosi jointly wrote that it is “imperative” that Barr respect the public’s right to know what the report contains, warts and all, as well as providing Congress with “its underlying findings and supporting documents.”
“Attorney General Barr must not give President Trump, his lawyers or his staff any ‘sneak preview’ of Special Counsel Mueller’s findings or evidence.”
The Democrats also shared a concern circulating not only among the halls of Congress, but in the general zeitgeist as well, as the public finally prepares for the results of the long-awaited investigation to come out: that the president and his interests in keeping parts of the findings secret might be permitted to outweigh the public’s right to know.
“[T]he White House must not be allowed to interfere in decisions about what parts of those findings or evidence are made public.”
For his part, AG Barr has reportedly made recent efforts to reassure the public and Department of Justice staff that he is seeking a return to the basics of the law, seeking to avoid the scandals, Twitter wars, and firings that have roiled the department in recent years. According to a recent Los Angeles Times report, Barr is hoping to “restore the department’s reputation as a nonpartisan institution whose only allegiance is to the law.”
That attitude is the one that Pelosi and Schumer seem to be appealing to in their letter regarding how the attorney general plans to handle the release of the Mueller report. They pointed out that the very nature of the investigation and the results of it speak directly to “the integrity of our democracy itself: whether foreign powers corruptly interfered in our elections.”
For his part, Barr wrote a letter to Congress on Friday, saying he remains committed to “as much transparency as possible” and that he could release a summary of the Mueller team’s findings as soon as this weekend.
However, as Pelosi and Schumer made abundantly clear in their own letter, nothing short of full disclosure will suffice, as far as they are concerned.
“The American people have a right to the truth. The watchword is transparency,” they concluded.