The Mueller report should be made available to the public as soon as possible.
Yes, there are legal and constitutional questions. Those questions should be able to be resolved in a timely manner, now that a more than two-year investigation has concluded, and its findings have been sent to the United States’ attorney general.
The few-page summary by the attorney general concluded there is no legal justification to pursue any further the allegations that President Donald Trump’s campaign worked with the Russian government to fix the 2016 election.
Trump said the release of Mueller’s full report “wouldn’t bother me at all,” and Democrats quickly put that statement to the test, demanding that his administration hand over the entire document and not just Sunday’s four-page summary from Attorney General William Barr.
Barr has said previously that he wants to make as much public as he can under the law, though grand jury material is not expected to be released.
We agree with the president, we agree with Barr and we agree with the Democrats.
There is a difference the decisions of judge and jury make in a court of law.
In a court of law during a criminal trial, the phrase “beyond reasonable doubt” is a cornerstone of a verdict. In a civil case, a “preponderance of evidence” is the litmus test.
If what we are hearing from Attorney General William Barr is true, what special counsel Robert Mueller found was that evidence did not rise to either level of proof.
But there is a court of public opinion. That court is held daily in barber shops, coffee houses, offices, street corners, best friends watching a Final Four basketball game during a commercial break, or even a drunken brawl at a tavern.
There seems to be a basic understanding by the public servants in Washington and Austin that what they do in the halls of Congress or the state capitol is upon sacred ground, to be untouched by anyone who hasn’t been invited or elected.
Something, though, appears to be amiss. We are not beholden to the politicians, they are beholden to us.
So, the Mueller report should be released to the public; warts or no warts.
By doing so, in making it available to the entire public, the report can bypass the usual rhetoric of “fake news,” “nothing but a campaign soundbite” or even worse “giving a good news spin to a blatant lie to make it become believable and then the perceived truth.”
As he should, Barr noted in his summary the Mueller investigation reached no conclusion on whether Trump obstructed the federal investigation, instead setting out “evidence on both sides” of the question and stating, “while this report does not conclude the president committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.”
In 1913, U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Louis Brandeis wrote: “If the broad light of day could be let in upon men’s actions, it would purify them as the sun.”
For more than a century – even more if you factor in the United States constitution — the premise is a well-informed public is best for the country and best for the simple concept of democracy.
So, whether it be an investigation into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s email usage or Trump’s actions during an election, the public has a right to know.
• Dave Mathews