Dispatch March 12, 2019

OP-ED: Why Trump Should Release the Full Mueller Report

The public overwhelmingly supports the release of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s forthcoming report. But the Trump administration could still opt to release barebones findings while concealing critical aspects of Mueller’s investigation in a simple way: by hiding behind a cloak of classification.

Over the course of the investigation, we have become accustomed to the release of heavily redacted documents filled with blacked out names, sentences, paragraphs and even whole pages—sometimes for law enforcement equities but also to protect classified information. Public sleuths and Mueller-watchers make guesses about what’s behind these redactions, causing Twitter to spin with near baseless speculation and conspiracy theories.

Mueller’s investigators are certainly right from a prosecutorial point of view to keep their cards close to the chest. But the Russia investigation is not simply a legal case. It started as a counterintelligence investigation into a foreign-led attack on America.

From a national security perspective some, if not many, of the classified redactions are likely no longer necessary and may even be harmful to the broader national interest. The redactions both limit public understanding of the full breadth of Russia’s attack on our democracy and foster the rise of conspiracies and undue paranoia. Once the report is finalized, there will be an overriding public interest, as well as a national security interest, in declassifying as much of the material underlying the Mueller investigation as possible.