The Democrats are preparing their response to the Mueller report despite the fact that they have no idea what will be in the mysterious document. CNN describes the response as a “swift” one. I get the impression that it doesn’t matter what’s in that report, do you?
Yesterday when Attorney General William Barr testified before the House Appropriations Committee, he explained that the report will have four different kinds of redactions: grand jury testimony, sensitive intelligence material, information compromising on-going investigations, and information about innocent people who will not be charged with a crime.
That just isn’t going to work for the Democrats who have too much invested in their years-long collusion fable. They want to go through that report and illegally leak any and all damaging information to their media army. The real purpose of the report for the Democrats is to continue to smear Trump. Since they didn’t get what they
expected wanted from Mueller, they will just extract what is convenient for their cause and the loyal media apparatchiks will gladly assist in disseminating. The information will be used to conduct an endless schedule of hearings and harassment.
Former Clinton independent counsel Ken Starr explains what exactly Barr’s responsibilities are under the special counsel statute:
Under the regulations that governed his appointment and now guide his final acts, Mueller is to provide a confidential report to one person only: the attorney general. The regulations, which were promulgated during the final months of the Clinton administration, do not contemplate any sort of report sent directly from the special counsel to Congress or the general public. To the contrary, the regulations call upon the attorney general, William Barr, to receive the confidential report and then do two things: First, to notify Congress of the investigation’s completion and, second, to provide an explanation for certain specifically enumerated actions. There is no requirement for a Barr-edited version of the Mueller report.
In short, there may be no Mueller report at all, save for the confidential document that lands on Barr’s desk. And these same regulations do not require the attorney general to simply pass along a confidential report that may very well contain unflattering information about one or more individuals. Including the president.
The statute that controlled Ken Starr and his Clinton investigation is not the same as the one that controls Barr. The statute was changed by the Democrats after the salty Clinton report was released to the public.
The regulations now governing Mueller were meant to restore the traditions of the Department of Justice, which were broken when Congress enacted the special-prosecutor (or, later, independent-counsel) provisions of the Ethics in Government Act of 1978. Under that regime, reports became the warp and woof of the independent counsel’s work. Most provocatively, the statute required an independent counsel to refer matters to the House of Representatives for possible impeachment when a surprisingly low threshold of evidence was in hand—“substantial and credible information that an impeachable offense may have been committed.” I followed that requirement when I produced the so-called Starr Report, which then took on a controversial life of its own in the House in the dramatic months of 1998.
The architects of the current regulations saw all this unfold. Not surprisingly, the drafters of the new regime—the one under which Mueller operates—set themselves firmly against the revolutionary principle of factually rich prosecutorial reports. It might seem strange for me to say, but they were right to do so. The message emanating from the new regulations, issued by then–Attorney General Janet Reno, was this: Special counsel, do your job, and then inform the attorney general—in confidence—of the reasons underlying your decisions to prosecute and your determinations not to seek a prosecution (“declinations”).
(Here’s a fun piece by one of the authors of the updated special counsel regulation.)
Barr pointed out as much during the hearing. “Many of the people who are right now calling for the release of this report were basically castigating Ken Starr and others for releasing the Starr report,” Barr said.
“I don’t intend at this stage to send the full, unredacted report to the committee,” Barr told the committee. “Until someone shows me a provision” permitting the release of grand jury material, Barr added, “Congress doesn’t get” that material. Barr also explained the committee, Mueller’s job is binary: prosecute or don’t prosecute. The report did not recommend any prosecutions so the game is over.
Nevertheless, she persisted and the Democrats are hell-bent on using the content of this report as a weapon against the president. If that means obtaining and leaking classified information, smearing the 500 innocent people interviewed in the process of the investigation or obtaining information necessary to other prosecutions, so be it.
“We have made a formal request for all of the information and findings in the counterintelligence investigation, as they’re required to provide us under the National Security Act of 1947,” Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) said. “Our priority at the moment has been to make sure this report is made public, and make as much of the report public as possible, but we will be following through to make sure we get the counterintelligence information that they’re obligated to provide.” (They aren’t obligated, that’s why you aren’t getting it.)
“We have an independent basis to want the counterintelligence information, after all of this began as a counterintelligence investigation, to determine, to find out whether the President or people in his campaign had been compromised in any way by a foreign power,” Schiff said. “That means giving us classified information, that means giving us grand jury information.” Do your own work, Schiff, the executive branch doesn’t need to turn over their work to you.
Barr testified yesterday that the redacted reported should be released in a weeks time, so get ready. In the meantime, Barr will be in front of the Senate Appropriations Committee this morning.