Release of Mueller Report Sparks Controversy
By Maura Campbell ’22
In recent weeks, Robert Mueller completed his investigation of President Donald Trump. Although the full Mueller Report has yet to be released to the public, Attorney General William Barr released the Barr Report—a four-page summary of the Mueller investigation’s findings—on Sunday, March 24.
The Barr Report explains the results of the two-year investigation into whether the Trump campaign conspired with the Russian government during the 2016 election, as well as whether President Trump was guilty of obstruction of justice.
The report states that Mr. Mueller and his team of investigators did not find sufficient evidence to indicate that President Trump or his campaign colluded with the Russian government. The investigation did not reach a conclusion about whether the President obstructed justice.
The release of the Barr Report has caused mixed reactions among the media and the American people; a conclusion to this large-scale investigation of the president has been long awaited.
Due to the nature of the conclusion —that is, that the investigation team did not find sufficient evidence to prove President Trump’s guilt in either charge—many media outlets have called this a great political victory for Trump. The New York Times and AP News claim that a “cloud has lifted” over Trump’s presidency, as the release of the Barr Report has somewhat dimmed accusations of collusion.
However, not everyone has reached this conclusion as quickly. House Democrats have largely emphasized the line “while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him,” from the Barr Report. This line shows the complexity of the investigation’s findings. It did not conclude whether or not the President obstructed justice, yet did not clear him either.
President Trump has declared the Barr report as a “complete and total exoneration,” despite the report’s statement that it does not, in fact, exonerate him. The President’s declaration of exoneration has been largely repeated by members of his administration, including White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders, as well as by his fellow Republicans in Congress.
It is important to note, as well, that the Barr Report does not represent the full Mueller Report. The Barr Report is merely a four-page summary of the raw data found within the Mueller Report. Since the release of the Barr Report, there has been a public outcry for the full Mueller Report to be released to the public.
As of now, there is no set date for the Mueller Report to be released or a confirmation that it will even be released at all. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell blocked a resolution on Monday that would allow the Mueller Report to be released to the public. The blocking of this resolution, which passed 420-0 in the House of Representatives, raised questions from the media and the public about McConnell’s motivations for keeping the Mueller Report confidential.
Regardless of the many differing interpretations of the Barr Report and its aftermath, it seems to be largely agreed upon that it represents a political victory for President Trump. Accusations of collusion have followed Trump’s presidency since he took office, and the Barr Report has certainly brought doubt to those claims.