Mueller report: Here's a Dem's take -- If Trump, others are innocent, releasing full report will prove it

Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russian interference in our 2016 presidential election must be made public. In our deeply divided nation, that’s one thing nearly 90 percent of Americans agree on.

Mueller submitted his report to Attorney General William Barr on Friday afternoon. Barr and President Trump have no reason to thwart the will of the people by keeping the report under wraps. The president himself said as much this week.

If the president truly has nothing to hide and believes the report will clear his name he should let the American people can read it. If he’s right, there’s no better way to put the matter to bed in the public’s eyes. A truly innocent president would want the people he serves to see everything so there’s no doubt left in their minds.

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If Attorney General Barr wants to protect the integrity and reputation of the Justice Department and law enforcement he should release the Mueller report. Claims of a “witch hunt” by the president and his GOP allies have done incredible damage to the public servants committed to keeping Americans safe.

If we want to stop Russia and other foreign adversaries from interfering in our elections the Mueller report should be released. It’s long past time to take action to protect the sanctity of U.S. elections.

While Barr has indicated he will have a “summary” (whatever that means) of the Mueller report as early as this weekend, that’s not going to be enough to inspire public confidence. It would be too easy for people to assume, rightly or wrongly, that details of the report were cherrypicked to paint the president in the best light.

If the president truly has nothing to hide and believes the report will clear his name he should let the American people can read it. If he’s right, there’s no better way to put the matter to bed in the public’s eyes. A truly innocent president would want the people he serves to see everything so there’s no doubt left in their minds.

Releasing the full report can prevent that. Plus, without the full report, it could be much more difficult for Congress to pursue measures to help protect our democracy.

This isn’t a partisan issue. That’s why the U.S. House voted 420-0 to ask that the Mueller report be made public. As I wrote in a Fox News opinion piece last week, it’s up to members of both parties in the House to stand behind their votes and demand Attorney General Barr do the right thing and put the report out for all of us to see.

Anything less – for Republicans in particular –would expose their vote as nothing more than political cover. Without action, there will be no cover, and voters will hold them accountable.

Those who oppose releasing the Mueller report, for whatever reason, are the same people who call the Russia investigation a “witch hunt.”

Please. The Mueller investigation led to the indictments of dozens of people, convictions of multiple Trump associates, and exposed a disturbing pattern of secretive contact between Trump’s inner circle, Russia and WikiLeaks. Americans deserve answers.

Some will say the entire report can’t be released for national security reasons. Still not an excuse. That’s why we have representatives in Congress, who regularly receive confidential and classified briefings.

At the very least, every member of Congress should be allowed to see every word of the Mueller report. Allowing them all to review the report provides a check on the Justice Department and can confirm that only the most sensitive information was withheld from public scrutiny. And then our elected representatives can call Barr out for inappropriately holding back material, if it turns that’s what he does.

Doing the right thing is easy here. Sunlight is the best disinfectant, and transparency, in this case, is vital. If the president and his associates are completely innocent, seeing the full report will prove it.

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If this was really a “witch hunt,” the full report may expose that too. And if the man sitting in the Oval Office and his closest aides acted inappropriately in any way, the full report will expose that too and allow our country to engage in a conversation about how to handle it.

Simply releasing a watered-down summary will do little more than fuel more questions that will further divide our nation and undermine our democracy – accomplishing exactly what the Russians want.