Ex-FBI Assistant Director: Here's the real reason why the Mueller report should be made public

President Trump did the right thing Saturday by calling for the public release of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report examining Russia’s interference in our 2016 presidential election and allegations of Trump campaign cooperation with Russia.

Unlike Democrats in the House of Representatives – who are preparing so-called investigations that will be political theater to fuel their 2020 election ambitions – Mueller is conducting a serious probe. The special counsel’s investigation began in May 2017 and is now apparently drawing to a close.

The American people have a right to know what Mueller finds. More than $25 million collected from our taxes has been spent on his investigation.

TRUMP BACKS CALL FOR MUELLER REPORT TO BE MADE PUBLIC: ‘PLAY ALONG WITH THE GAME!’

Although the president has frequently denounced the Mueller probe as a “witch hunt” – and called it “illegal” and “conflicted” Friday – he still said the report should be released.

The House voted 420-0 Thursday to approve a resolution encouraging – but not requiring – Attorey General William Barr to release the Mueller report when he gets it.

As a former FBI assistant director who served under Mueller when he was director of the bureau, I know him to be a man of unassailable integrity. His investigation bears little resemblance to the partisan charade the newly empowered Democratic majority in the House is preparing.

President Trump tweeted in response Saturday: “On the recent non-binding vote (420-0) in Congress about releasing the Mueller Report, I told leadership to let all Republicans vote for transparency. Makes us all look good and doesn’t matter.”

As a former FBI assistant director who served under Mueller when he was director of the bureau, I know him to be a man of unassailable integrity. His investigation bears little resemblance to the partisan charade the newly empowered Democratic majority in the House is preparing.

For President Trump and others who say Mueller’s work is a “witch hunt,” let me say that Mueller did more for his country before he reached the age of 26 than most citizens do in a lifetime. He enlisted in the Marines and fought in the Vietnam War, where he received the Bronze Star and other medals and was wounded in combat.

Since he began his Russia probe, Mueller has never leaked or spoken publicly about his investigation. He has done all his talking via court filings. In his over 50 years in government service and the private sector, there has never been a hint of bias or corruption involving him.

I have some oceanfront property in the Great Smoky Mountains for sale to anyone who thinks congressional investigations are objective, unbiased and free from political agendas. Elected officials from each political party usually start out with conclusions and then selectively search for information to back up those conclusions.

Recently House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., said that he is sending requests for documents to 81 individuals and entities for a wide-ranging investigation of allegations of abuse of power by President Trump. This is an example of a politicized fishing expedition for negative information about the president.

The Judiciary Committee investigation will essentially duplicate and complicate the ongoing Mueller investigation. It will bring us no closer to the truth and raise more questions than answers.

For starters, no credible investigation starts with a predetermined outcome. Yet we saw congressional leaders announcing the outcome of their sham investigations before they even began. This can also taint future jury pools, because the extensive publicity will make it extremely difficult to find impartial jurors who have not already been influenced by the media circus.

Congressional inquiries are a forum for pontification, influencing public opinion and furthering political agendas. Lawmakers are more interested in making speeches than asking good questions. Witnesses routinely are not responsive to subpoenas and often refuse to answer questions, invoking rights and privileges that are seldom challenged.

Rather than paying for kangaroo court sessions, taxpayers should demand that our legislators actually spend their time making laws. Go figure. It’s not too much to expect these elected officials to focus on crafting legislative solutions for the issues identified and raised by professional investigators.

This is not to say Congress does not have a role to play in the aftermath of an official investigation. There is a much better use of our taxpayer dollars. The House and Senate should work together and on a bipartisan basis to fix the systemic problems identified by investigations conducted by professional nonpartisan investigators at federal agencies.

Attorney General William Barr should give the upcoming Mueller report as much transparency as the law allows. To his credit, he pledged to do this during his confirmation hearing.

Two important questions absolutely must be answered: Did any Americans aid the Russians in committing espionage during the 2016 election? And did the Obama administration “weaponize” the intelligence community to influence the election?

Common sense demands that both questions be answered. We can’t simply assume that the Obama administration could not possibly have done anything improper.

The near-unanimous House vote calling for Attorney General Barr to release the Mueller report is also a step in then right direction.

Despite the grandstanding press conference of then-FBI Director James Comey when he declined to recommend charges against Hillary Clinton in her email scandal, the details of investigations that do not result in charges are usually not publicized.

But there is a public interest in learning the truth about whether any Americans – and in particular Trump campaign officials or even President Trump himself – worked in concert with Russian intelligence agents to conduct espionage activities around our last presidential election. This outweighs the need to protect anyone’s privacy.

The policy of not disclosing details of investigations that don’t result in criminal charges is rooted in the premise that the stigma of just being the subject of an investigation can never be overcome. But in the case of the Mueller investigation, it would be an understatement to say the damage has already been done.

Generally, sources and methods in investigations must be protected. But there is no point in protecting those that have already been widely publicized by the news media, especially when the reliability of certain sources is one of the central issues.

The American people are clearly divided on the issue of Mueller’s work, but the issues he is addressing are important.

The dysfunction of the Comey leadership team at the FBI cast doubt on the early conduct of the Russia investigation. The special counsel safety net was properly invoked and the case was wrested from the hands of the most partisan FBI leadership team the agency has ever witnessed.

But here’s what’s important to note: Mueller is not one of the partisans.

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We’re faced now with extraordinary circumstances in which the public has an overriding interest in ensuring the sanctity of our elections. The American people need to have a full awareness of how Russian President Vladimir Putin’s henchmen conduct their often clumsy espionage activities.

Transparency would be the best medicine to alleviate guesswork and outright paranoia. Let the Mueller investigation wind up and let the information flow. We are a nation that can handle the truth and let the chips fall where they may.

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