Attorney General William Barr doesn’t deserve the benefit of the doubt. The problem isn’t simply that he still won’t commit to releasing the full Mueller report, or the many questions left unanswered by his four-page messaging letter. The real, overlooked problem is Barr’s history of acting as a partisan operative to get Republican presidents out of sticky spots. Until he complies with Congress’s demands to release the full, unvarnished Mueller report, there is no reason to assume that this situation will be any different.
The level of secrecy surrounding the Mueller report is unacceptable. Amid bipartisan calls for the release of Mueller’s findings – including a unanimous resolution in the House – Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell blocked a Senate resolution to make the report public. At the same time, the FBI will reportedly only provide the Gang of 8 a classified briefing on the counterintelligence findings of Mueller’s investigation, which were not contained in Barr’s summary letter.
Attorney General William Barr’s letter summarizing Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report only underscores how urgent it is that the full report be made available to the public. The letter fails to answer any of the many outstanding questions already made public, including:
Three years ago today, the personal email account of the chairman of the Clinton campaign, John Podesta, was hacked by an elite unit in Russia’s military intelligence service, the GRU. (Full disclosure: he is the founder of CAP Action, which you probably already know). This hacking effort was part of a yearlong campaign by Russian intelligence directed against the Clinton campaign and Trump opponents, an effort that left zero question about the prevalence of interference in the 2016 election. There were two campaigns to elect Donald Trump in 2016: a campaign run out of Trump Tower (the Trump campaign) and a campaign run out of the Kremlin (the Russian campaign).
If the president truly has nothing to hide, he should push for complete transparency—and demand it now.
Now that President Donald Trump’s accomplices are no longer running the House’s Russia investigation, Congress is finally getting started on seriously investigating the Kremlin’s attack on the 2016 election. The biggest step so far: requesting documents and testimony from 81 people and entities associated with the Trump campaign and administration or Russian interference efforts.
It’s heartening to read The Post’s revelatio n that U.S. Cyber Command disrupted Internet access on Election Day 2018, for the Internet Research Agency in St. Petersburg. This is the Russian troll farm that ran an extensive online campaign in 2016 to help elect Donald Trump. But as the cyberwarfare expert Thomas Rid noted, the Cyber Command operation was “more of a pinprick that is more annoying than deterring in the long run.” More than two years after the 2016 election, the United States still does not have a comprehensive policy to counter and deter foreign interference in our elections. Indeed, the Trump administration is gutting the task forces established to do just that. To get serious about protecting the political process, Washington needs to ensure the technical integrity of the voting system and that voters are not subjected to foreign influence operations. A two-pronged approach is needed.