This article appeared in the February 22, 2019 edition of the Monitor Daily.

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What to watch when the Mueller report does drop

Joshua Roberts/Reuters/File
Special Counsel Robert Mueller leaves a Senate briefing on his investigation into potential collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign in June 2017.
Peter Grier
Washington editor

Mueller time may be coming. And whatever special counsel Robert Mueller concludes in a final report, it’s likely to send shock waves through Washington.

Will that alter the balance of US politics? Probably not, at least for a while.

Actually, we’re not sure what, if anything, Mr. Mueller is about to do. But many news outlets report that new Attorney General William Barr is preparing to receive a Mueller report as early as next week (reports today hinted that there could be a delay).

This report could take many forms. It could be a note saying he’s indicted everyone he wants to. It could be a detailed map to alleged malfeasance by more high officials.

Absent some shocking revelation, it’s unlikely to sway people’s minds. In today’s polarized world, partisans are too entrenched in their positions. Trump supporters will say there’s no proof of collusion with Russia. White House critics will point to patterns they deem circumstantial evidence of wrongdoing.

The thing to watch might be the messaging of Washington’s elite. If Republican lawmakers begin to sound more critical of White House actions, that could signal a tectonic shift. Democrats dialing back impeachment talk would mean the same thing the other way.

Remember, a Mueller report represents the end of the beginning, not the beginning of the end. He’s handed off investigations to regular Justice Department prosecutors, while New York State, House committees, and others continue.

“The truth is likely to come out – maybe not on the timetable anyone wants, but it will,” said former solicitor general Neal Katyal this week.

Now to our five stories for your Friday. 

This article appeared in the February 22, 2019 edition of the Monitor Daily.

Read 02/22 edition
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