It is strange that so many Republicans want the particulars of Mueller’s findings publicized when the bottom-line conclusions are so good for Trump. A 300-page report is bound to include passages that are unflattering towards him or even accusatory, if not quite accusatory to the point of probable cause. As Gowdy notes, some of the “evidence” in this case was provided by Trump enemies like Peter Strzok and Christopher Steele; how confident are you that rumor and bias are completely absent from the report? Releasing it can only complicate what’s otherwise been a gigantic political win for POTUS. You’d think prominent GOPers would anticipate that and oppose publication, citing the same grounds as Gowdy: We went through this with Comey and Hillary in 2016. The DOJ isn’t supposed to besmirch someone whom it determined has committed no crime.
Why aren’t more pro-Trump Republicans opposing its release, particularly considering Mueller’s ominous refusal to exonerate Trump on the obstruction charge? Beats me. Maybe the case for transparency at long last on Russiagate is so overwhelming that even their instinct to protect Trump is blunted by it. Maybe they’re simply resigned to the fact that any attempt to deny Americans closure on what happened in 2016 would reek so intensely of a cover-up by Trump and his AG that the party will suffer less damage from whatever’s in the report than they would by suppressing it. “How bad can the report be,” they may be thinking, “if no one got indicted for conspiracy? Even if there’s an obstruction case, the public will never support impeaching Trump for impeding an investigation that cleared him of the underlying crime.”
As for the point that federal prosecutors shouldn’t show their cards in a matter in which they’ve chosen not to indict someone, that’s a sound rule generally but less sound in matters of intense civic interest. I’ve always thought Comey’s decision to hold that press conference on Clinton and explain the FBI’s findings was defensible given the bizarre circumstances of that case: The country’s former top diplomat, who was appointed by Comey’s own boss and was running for president herself, was accused of mishandling classified information while she was Secretary of State and wasn’t being charged despite the fact that they had her seemingly dead to rights on the relevant statute. How come? Was the Democratic-run FBI covering up for her? Could we really trust her with the presidency if we couldn’t trust her with her duties at State? Inquiring voting minds needed to know.
Same argument this time, except multiply by a hundred. Was the whole “collusion” narrative little more than a dossier-fueled Democratic smear of Trump or did he actually have some dubious contacts with Moscow? What actions did the president of the United States take to obstruct the investigation that we don’t know about yet? It would be useful to know these things before handing him another four years of power next year, no? The common thread in the Trump and Clinton investigations is that each focused not only on a high public official but on actions that official took in connection with his or her office — in Clinton’s case the execution of her duties and in Trump’s case the conduct of his campaign. This isn’t John Doe walking away from an embezzlement charge or whatever. There’s a mammoth public interest in both cases in knowing the details. As a famous man once said, “People have got to know whether or not their president is a crook.”