Former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates penned a persuasive column in The Washington Post, pointing out why she believed it was absolutely essential for Attorney General William Barr to release the Mueller report in its entirety.
Special counsel Robert Mueller submitted an estimated 400-page report to Barr, who subsequently wrote a brief memo to Congress about the same. In the memo, Barr mentioned that Mueller had found no collusion between Russians and the Trump campaign. As for obstruction charges, Barr wrote that Mueller had laid out the evidence both for and against Trump, but had refused to exercise his prosecutorial judgment. In that event, Barr concluded that the evidence wasn’t enough to cause alarm. It led the president and his associates to claim that he had been given complete exoneration by Mueller, which is not true.
Since then, Barr has repelled attempts to release the report, with congressional Democrats increasingly adamant that they want to see the entire documentation prepared by the special counsel. Sally Yates, who served as the Deputy Attorney General from 2015-17, gave three reasons as to why it was important for Barr to release the report.
Congress must know about Russian interference.
According to Barr’s memo, the Mueller report “outlines the Russian effort to influence the election and documents crimes committed by persons associated with the Russian government in connection with those efforts.” Yates argues that it is a given that Russians interfered in the 2016 presidential elections. In such a scenario, it becomes imperative that Congress know the full facts about the interference, otherwise it won’t be able to take proper measures to make sure the situation is not repeated.
“As you read this, the Russian government is undoubtedly hard at work to undermine our next election. Each day that passes without Congress having access to the full Mueller report is a day that Congress is prevented from doing its job of keeping our elections free from Russian espionage efforts,” Yates writes.
If Russians did indeed field multiple offers for the Trump campaign, why didn’t he contact law enforcement?
According to Barr, the Mueller report established that Donald Trump’s campaign received multiple offers from Russians but that the candidate refused to work with them. But even in that case, Yates argues, the fact that Trump kept lying about having no contact with Russia is deeply worrying. Also, she says, why wouldn’t Trump contact law enforcement if indeed the Russians kept contacting his campaign to interfere in the elections?
“Does the role that the Russians played in his election have any bearing on Trump’s current approach toward Russia? Only by seeing the full Mueller report can Congress and the American people make an informed assessment.”
Keeping the Mueller report under wraps is not being honest with the American people.
Yates argues that unless Congress sees the evidence Mueller found out in relation to accusations of obstruction against Trump, it cannot make up its mind of whether or not to prosecute him in a congressional hearing room.
“According to Barr’s letter, the Mueller report details evidence of potentially obstructive conduct, but it does not reveal what that evidence comprises. Until Congress is provided the full report, it cannot evaluate the seriousness of the evidence. And we, the American people, cannot make our own evaluation,” Yates concludes.