Democrats are setting the stage for a prolonged political and legal fight over the contents and the backup documents. They will be outraged and accusatory unless they get every word in the Mueller Report and ALL the backup information and documents.
Of course, they know that they will not get everything – because it would be illegal and improper for the Justice Department to give up certain information. Some redactions and withholdings are legally required. Others are lawful but can be made controversial.
The decision to reject portions of the Mueller Report will be the final decision of Attorney General Robert Barr – BUT, he will make those decisions in concert with others, including Robert Mueller, Rod Rosenstein and others.
So, what could be denied by the Justice Department?
Virtually everyone conceded that any information that exposes “sources and methods” will not be released. This is information that would potentially undermine our intelligence operations and even risk the lives of intelligence agents on the ground.
The document and transcripts that were part of any Grand Jury proceeding cannot legally be made public – although the courts can waive that prohibition. Even if the courts were inclined to do so, it would mean minimally months of delay as the two sides present their arguments.
Information involving ongoing investigations would be redacted. Democrats seem to be in the conflicted position of claiming that ongoing investigations are evidence of Trump’s — and others – guilt of misconduct and crimes and, at the same time, demanding that all such information be released.
Since the myriad of investigations involve the President of the United States – and the President has a legal right to confidentiality in in-house conversations – there is a reasonable argument that the President not only has a right to review the Report and its backup data but an obligation to do so. Minimally, Trump has a right to exert Executive Privilege whether he prevails or not. This could also result in prolonged legal haggling in the courts – and another reason that portions of the Mueller Report will not be released expeditiously – if at all.
Then there is the Justice Department’s ban on revealing any information about people who are not indicted. Violating that practice was part of Rosenstein’s memo recommending the firing of FBI Director James Comey. His detailed delineation of Hillary Clinton’s misdeeds and then declaring there should be no indictment is often cited by Democrats as precedence to require such information to be revealed in the Trump – or other – cases. That is nonsense. Breaking laws or rules does not create precedence or nullify the laws or rules.
Democrats argue that this situation is different since it is also believed that a sitting President cannot be indicted. Therefore, if Mueller presents arguments of criminal behavior by the president – but cannot indict him – the Justice Department regulations should be waived. It is not an unreasonable argument, but as the FACTS stand, the ban on publicizing negative information about someone a prosecutor declines to indict is still the rule.
If Barr follows the Justice Department rule, that will most certainly send the already unhinged Democrats into political hyperspace. You have to keep in mind that as far as they are concerned Trump is guilty of multiple crimes and bad behaviors and needs to be removed from office.
In demanding a quick and complete release of the ENTIRE Report and backup data, Democrats know full well that it is an impossible and inappropriate demand to meet. Their call is just political gamesmanship designed to create false, unnecessary and divisive feud in which they believe they can gain political advantage.
So, there ‘tis.