A weekly window on the American political scene hosted by Liz Marlantes.

When it comes to Mueller report, the wait goes on

Why We Wrote This

Attorney General William Barr is expected to turn over the redacted report to Congress soon. But the fight over access to the full report could drag on for years.

Andrew Harnik/AP
In his first appearance on Capitol Hill since taking office, and amid intense speculation over his review of special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia report, Attorney General William Barr appeared before a House Appropriations subcommittee Tuesday, April 9, 2019, in Washington.

Dear readers:
 
The Mueller report is coming. We’ve written that before – in fact, that exact sentence was a headline on our site a month ago.
 
Then, we were anticipating the moment when special counsel Robert Mueller would hand his completed report to the Department of Justice.
Of course, that only led to more waiting – for Attorney General William Barr’s summary, which came a few days later. According to the four-page letter Mr. Barr submitted to Congress, Mr. Mueller did not find that the Trump campaign had conspired with Russia in its efforts to influence the 2016 election. The special counsel did not reach a conclusion about whether President Donald Trump obstructed justice, leaving that to the attorney general, who cleared the president there as well. Mr. Barr’s summary quickly came under fire for being incomplete and possibly misleading (though, since the actual report is still under wraps, it’s impossible to know one way or the other).
 
Which brings us to where we are now: awaiting a redacted version of the nearly 400-page report itself, which Mr. Barr is expected to turn over to Congress in coming days.
 
Testifying before Congress this week, Mr. Barr pointed out that the rules governing the special counsel were created in the wake of the 1998 Starr report – which included salacious details about President Bill Clinton and former intern Monica Lewinsky, and became a bestseller. “That’s why the current rule says the report should be kept confidential,” Mr. Barr reminded lawmakers. “Because there was a lot of reaction against the publication of Ken Starr’s report.” 
 
Nevertheless, the expected redactions are a point of contention among Democrats, who are demanding access to the full Mueller report. House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., already has subpoenas on tap – although, as the Monitor’s Francine Kiefer recently wrote, enforcement would be another matter entirely. If it winds up in the courts, the process could take years.
 
Which means, sometime in the distant future, we may once again find ourselves writing: The Mueller report is coming.

Let us know what you’re thinking at csmpolitics@csmonitor.com.
 

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