3 in 4 readers want some form of ‘Mueller report’ released to public scrutiny

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Should the ‘Mueller report’ on foreign election interference and obstruction of justice be released?

Results of polling last week and into early this week conducted here on OverdriveOnline.com show a sizable majority (74 percent) of readers want special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on 2016 foreign election interference and possible obstruction of justice released to the public in some form. According to the U.S. attorney general’s summary of the “principal conclusions” made in the report as they pertain to the President, the accompanying investigation did not find evidence of any criminal conspiracy between Russian election-meddling efforts and the President’s then campaign. The report stopped short of making any conclusion about whether obstruction of justice was committed in the aftermath of the President taking the reins of office, though Attorney General William Barr and a deputy concluded there was no chargeable obstruction on offer.

More than half of the nearly 3 in 4 readers who favored some public release of the report show some sentiment that aligns with current moves in the House of Representatives to attempt to force the report’s release without sizable redactions. The House Judiciary Committee had given a deadline of April 2 to the Department of Justice to release the report or face subpeonas for it, which reports noted this morning committee members had prepared.

Supporting the report’s release, however, doesn’t necessarily equate to any full-throated endorsement of the way Mueller’s investigation has been picked apart with no shortage of speculation and innuendo by talking heads and analysts in the press over the nearly two years it’s been in process. One reader urged officials to also unseal the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court’s warrant to surveil a Trump campaign associate that some say sowed the seeds of the investigation to begin with, along with the Mueller report, echoing the President’s recent calls for more investigation of such origins. (Documents related to that initial surveillance have in fact already been made public, memorably, though with significant redactions.)

The reader went on to further echo the President, calling the entire Russian-election-meddling story a “hoax” and “election meddling at its finest” itself, “used to sway the court of public opinion to gain strength” in last year’s mid-term elections, “and possibly the 2020 president election.”

Judging by Mueller’s team’s indictments over the past year and more, however, the foreign influence campaign was no hoax. In early 2018, Mueller brought indictments of Russian nationals involved in a campaign largely conducted online to spread false news stories and astroturf with divisive fake groups. Likewise handed down later in the year were indictments of Russian officials alleged to be involved in the hack of Democratic National Committee emails and their subsequent dissemination to influence the election.

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Such public indictments, among other ongoing cases tangentially related, might well be the most appropriate outcome we’ll get from the report, suggested another reader, part of the 16 percent minority that favored letting Barr’s summary of principal conclusions be the final word. “If the report is released nobody but the press is going to take the time to read it,” wrote John A. Norris, then voicing distrust of partisan influences to pick sides on the issues within the mainstream media. “All we need to know is if Trump did or didn’t do anything illegal with regards to the election. Those that actually conducted the investigation say he didn’t. … I am good with the summary.”