If It’s Good We’ll See It Right Away

February 22, 2019 11:31 a.m.

I think this is right. We’ll know how good or bad the Mueller ‘report’ is for Trump by how quickly and completely it’s released. From TPM Reader RS

I just read “More Thoughts on the End of the Mueller Probe,” and thought I’d share a reaction that came to me — not necessarily because it directly follows from anything you wrote, but something that was probably implicit.

As you’ve written previously, it seems likely that AG Barr is going to try to do what he can for President Trump, within certain limits of professional reputation, responsibility, etc. It probably wasn’t that surprising, therefore, when he made public comments that suggested that he wouldn’t necessarily make the Mueller report (whatever there is) public in its entirety, particularly if there was information that was derogatory about uncharged individuals (e.g. President Trump or members of his family).

But what I was struck by this evening was the question of what happens if it goes the other way? What if, despite the suspicions of many of us, Mueller concludes that there really *wasn’t* any coordination or attempted coordination between the institutional Trump Campaign and Russia (and perhaps that Manafort was essentially freelancing for his own benefit)?

In that case, wouldn’t we expect the WH position to be that they would *want* the report released in its entirety? After all, the President appears to care much more about personal vindication than anything else, even if it means throwing some other “uncharged individual’ lower down on the totem pole under the bus a bit. (Or even ignoring what may be real national security equities in keeping portions of the report secret, as with the Nunes Memo.) And even making the somewhat unrealistic assumption that the President manages not to expressly communicate that desire to the AG, it would have to be blazingly obvious to the AG on his own.

But if that’s true, then it seems like there’s an implicit tell. If the report isn’t released (or immediately leaked), it’s presumably because there’s *something* derogatory about the President or his closest associates. The alternative, that the AG has decided to take a stand on principle, against the President’s wishes, when the substantive result of the Mueller investigation is to clear the President just seems too unrealistic to credit.

Of course, perhaps I’m just overthinking this… I guess we’ll see.

(Also, unrelatedly, if the SCO truly viewed its mandate as principally investigative/CI, then doesn’t it follow that its results are within the oversight jurisdiction of HPSCI, such that even if a report isn’t made public, Rep. Schiff can seek the results of the investigation in an open or (more likely) closed session? Those CI equities act as a counterweight to the general rule against having Congress inquire into criminal investigations of non-charged individuals.)

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