Republican Senator Is Worried The Mueller Report Will Not Be Made Public
Republican Sen. John Kennedy of Louisiana is expressing serious misgivings about what will happen to special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigative report following the conclusion of his inquiry.
Mueller’s investigation, which commenced before he assumed the role of special counsel (after President Donald Trump fired then-FBI Director James Comey), began as a look into Russia’s many attempts to interfere with our elections in 2016. Since it’s start, however, the investigation has also focused on whether certain actors in Trump’s campaign — including the president himself — played a role in the Kremlin’s attempts to sabotage our democracy.
Kennedy’s concerns came about after testimony was given on Tuesday by William Barr, the Trump administration’s nominee to become the next permanent Attorney General. Despite the president’s continued attacks on the Mueller investigation, Barr has said he wants to see the inquiry reach its natural conclusion, and won’t fire Mueller unless there is just cause to do so, according to reporting from CBS News.
But Barr also left open the possibility that the Mueller report could never be scrutinized by the public directly. As attorney general, Barr would have the final say about what contents of the report, if those contents ever see daylight.
That worried Kennedy. “The most interesting part of it, maybe disturbing part of it to me…is that, whether the report will be made public is very uncertain,” Kennedy said during his interview.
— TPM Livewire (@TPMLiveWire) January 16, 2019
Barr’s testimony specifically presented doubts in Kennedy’s mind over whether the American people, and even lawmakers on Capitol Hill, would ever know what Mueller discovered in his probe.
“What I heard Mr. Barr say yesterday…his understanding is that Justice and FBI rules say that Mr. Mueller will make a report to Mr. Barr and Mr. Barr will then make some kind of report to Congress,” Kennedy said. “But he was even uncertain on that, and he said that that’s one of the first things [he’s] going to look into.”
Kennedy added that he believed the final report should be able to be seen by the American people.
“I think it’s really important that this report be made public. People are smart enough to figure it out,” he said. “This is unusual circumstances, and the American people need to see this report.”
Within his testimony, Barr also indicated he had reserved views on whether a sitting president could face justice under the law.
“For 40 years the position of the executive branch is that you can’t indict a sitting president,” the nominee said. Barr sees “no reason to change” those standards.
Barr’s past comments about the Russia inquiry have been placed under the microscope, especially after it was announced he was going to be Trump’s pick to lead the Justice Department. Barr has continually defended Trump over the past couple years, and tried to justify the president’s decision to fire Comey in a Washington Post op-ed in 2017.