The Mueller report

3/29/2019, 6 a.m.
Make no mistake: In no way has President Trump been vindicated by the Mueller report — at least not according ...

Make no mistake: In no way has President Trump been vindicated by the Mueller report — at least not according to the scant, four-page letter released Sunday by U.S. Attorney General William Barr that allegedly outlines the conclusions of the special counsel’s 22-month probe

We want our readers to clearly understand that President Trump refused to be interviewed by Mr. Mueller or his team. So how can the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election be complete without getting the sworn testimony of its chief witness-perpetrator, President Trump?

The letter states that while Mr. Mueller found that Russian government affiliates hacked into Hillary Clinton campaign and Democratic Party computers and disseminated emails and other info via WikiLeaks and social media, the probe did not determine that Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign team “conspired or coordinated” with the Russian government to interfere with the election. 

The letter goes on to state that Mr. Mueller’s probe does not conclude that President Trump  committed the crime of obstructing federal investigations into the question of Russian interference in the election, but the report also “does not exonerate” him.

We know the Mueller investigation has led to the indictment and conviction of several Trump campaign officials, including Paul Manafort, President Trump’s campaign chairman, and Rick Gates of Richmond, who also served on President Trump’s inaugural committee. 

Note, too, that this summary comes from an attorney general hand-picked by President Trump and who wrote a secret, unsolicited memo last June attacking the Mueller investigation and sent it to Trump administration officials. The memo likely set up Mr. Barr to replace former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who was fired by President Trump in November for recusing himself from overseeing the Russia probe.

Mr. Barr has a record of exonerating administration officials. As U.S. attorney general during President George H.W. Bush’s tenure, he supported the president’s pardon of six key figures involved in the Iran-Contra scandal under former President Ronald Reagan, including the pardon of Caspar Weinberger, defense secretary in the Reagan administration.

The situation leaves truth-seeking Americans with little choice but to demand public disclosure of the full Mueller report.

We call on Mr. Barr to release the report, and we urge the House and Senate Intelligence Committees to continue their work to get to the bottom of what has transpired by using their subpoena powers to talk with Mr. Mueller and others. 

From information previously released to the public, we know that Russians tried to influence the presidential election. We still need to know how such influence and interference by foreign entities can be prevented in the future.

We also need to understand President Trump’s financial ties to the Russians and what happened during the secret meeting between Russian emissaries and the president’s son, Donald Jr., and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, in Trump Tower prior to the 2016 election. What promises were made by President Trump and his people in exchange for Russian help with an election victory?

Those questions and scores of others remain unanswered. And until the American people get those answers, we will never clearly understand why President Trump was elected and continues to be a puppet of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The American people deserve the truth. We urge Congress to help uncover it.

Unfortunately, the Mueller report’s ambiguity has left President Trump crowing and claiming victory over what he has long described as a “witch hunt.” Mr. Barr said in the letter that he and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, a Trump quisling, concluded that the Mueller report’s evidence is “not sufficient” to determine that President Trump has committed a crime. Did we expect any other conclusion from Mr. Barr, who has the power to determine whether a crime was committed?

At this point, the situation has emboldened President Trump and his right-wing GOP supporters to the extent that his administration has renewed its assault against the Affordable Care Act and other progressive Obama-era gains.

The U.S. Justice Department, led by Mr. Barr, is siding with a Texas judge’s decision that would effectively strike down the entire health care initiative that more than 20 million people have come to rely on. In Virginia alone, more than 400,000 people became eligible on Jan. 1 for health insurance through the state’s Medicaid expansion under the ACA. Another 400,000 Virginians already were enrolled in insurance plans through the ACA health care exchange in 2018. 

We shudder to think what further attempts President Trump will launch to roll back recent advances to women’s reproductive health, voting rights, education and environmental and justice issues. It is up to clear-thinking members of Congress from both political parties to stop him.