“Saturday Night Live” this weekend turned up the heat with respect to the ongoing drama over release of Robert Mueller’s report on Russian meddling in the 2016 elections, bringing back Robert De Niro as Mueller opposite Alec Baldwin’s President Donald Trump. Aidy Bryant stood in as Attorney General William Barr, who presently holds the future of the report in his hands.
In the segment, De Niro’s Mueller composes the report one section at a time, which is summarized in real time by Bryant’s Barr, and then encapsulated in a Trump-styled tweet from Baldwin’s Trump. The dynamic is a goofily satirized version of the actual path information in the report has taken thus far. A typical back-and-forth played out as follows:
De Niro: “I am submitting these 380 pages.”
Bryant: “I am writing almost four pages.”
Baldwin: “I am reading zero pages, but Sean Hannity has read it and he was so excited that he texted me an eggplant.”
The comedic sketch, despite its amusing approach, indeed highlighted some grim political realities surrounding the release of the Mueller Report, which detailed the results of an investigation into not only Russian election meddling in general, but the possibility that Trump himself may have been involved with it, either personally or through his campaign.
Per Justice Department protocol, the special counsel’s report is delivered expressly to the Attorney General. Concerns about how Attorney General Barr might handle the report from there have been present since prior to his nomination. Beginning even then and continuing through his confirmation for the top Justice Department post, Barr has been under scrutiny as critics have consistently pointed out that statements by Barr in the past have strongly indicated that he might not feel obligated to be forthcoming when the report landed, which it finally did last week.
Alec Baldwin's @realDonaldTrump admits he hasn't read AG Barr's summary of the Mueller report: “But @seanhannity has read it and he’s so excited, he texted me an eggplant.” #SNL https://t.co/P1peUUQUYp— Matt Wilstein (@mattwilstein) March 31, 2019
Some of those concerns now seem potentially justified, as Barr has thus far refused to release or share with Congress the contents of the report, other than through a four-page summary of its key findings composed by him personally. The actual report as submitted was about 400 pages long, not including exhibits.
Representative Jerry Nadler, chair of the House Judiciary Committee, has been quick to express concern about how the report is being handled.
“In light of the very concerning discrepancies and final decision making at the Justice Department following the Special Counsel report, where Mueller did not exonerate the President, we will be calling Attorney General Barr in to testify before @HouseJudiciary in the near future,” Nadler tweeted.
Since then, Barr has indicated that he would make the report public, but only after the White House has an opportunity to redact portions of it as desired. Members of Congress and the public at large remain relatively united in a desire to see the unredacted report, rather than the edited version.