Edit: You can read my thoughts below, but honestly I think this blog sums up a lot of my opinion really well:
https://www.lawfareblog.com/how-understand-end-mueller-investigation-hint-you-cant-yet (I didn’t read it until AFTER I had written the below)
I haven’t had a lot of time to process this yet, but I wanted to get some of my initial thoughts out. Let me start with a few quotes and my initial thoughts:
“The Special Counsel’s investigation did not find that the Trump campaign or anyone associated with it conspired or coordinated with Russia in its efforts to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election. ” –THANK GOD. As an American, I am relieved if the president did not obviously conspire with a foreign (and not a particularly friendly foreign) entity. Now, I still think Barr is incredibly biased and I would like to understand the evidence and process Mueller went through so I (and more importantly, people smarter than me) can look over the details of that investigation.
“The report does not recommend any further indictments, nor did the Special Counsel obtain any sealed indictments that have yet to be made public.” – This doesn’t say there isn’t evidence that could lead to indictments. Specifically, when discussing the obstruction of justice Barr says, “the report sets out evidence on both sides of the question and leaves unresolved what the Special Counsel views as “difficult issues” of law and fact concerning whether the President’s actions and intent could be viewed as obstruction.”
Here’s the thing – the DOJ has a policy about not being ALLOWED (calling it unconstitutional) to indict a sitting president. Which means Mueller kind of can’t recommend actually indicting the president. Being surprised by Mueller NOT outright recommending an indictment is like being surprised a car without wheels not driving. This is the place where I really land on:
We need to see more of the real report, not just Barr’s summary.
Here’s my problem – William Barr has a long-standing record of bias. (https://www.businessinsider.com/william-barr-memo-mueller-investigation-legally-insupportable-2018-12). So for him to spend two days with the Mueller report and declare “Trump isn’t guilty!” just isn’t believable.
And I’m not the only one saying this:
IF Barr had released a statement of “this is my initial summary UNTIL I can release the report to the public in an appropriate format” (there might be items in there that in the PUBLIC release needs to be redacted – I can accept that). The report should be released to the Intelligence Committee at the least (maybe they won’t need to call another Cohen testimony shitshow).
I didn’t expect Mueller to advise for indictment of the president – it’s against the policy of the DOJ. That actually doesn’t mean there isn’t a “smoking gun” saying he obstructed justice (at the least). And if we don’t see the evidence Mueller gathered – there will always be doubt. Right now we need to remove doubt.