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Don’t block release of Mueller report on Russian interference

Attorney General William Barr must vet the findings quickly and release as much as possible

Special counsel Robert Mueller leaves after a meeting

Special counsel Robert Mueller leaves after a meeting on Capitol Hill in 2017. Photo Credit: AP / J. Scott Applewhite

The Mueller report has landed. Yet, we wait.

And that’s as it should be. Special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible collusion or obstruction of justice by President Donald Trump and his associates followed specific rules. So, too, must the report’s unveiling.

This is now Attorney General William Barr’s moment. He must vet the report as quickly as possible and release as much as possible. That means everything that does not involve national security matters, ongoing probes in New York and minor players who were not charged. Barr said in his confirmation hearing that he would be as transparent as possible, and the nation demands nothing less.

No matter what Mueller’s report concludes, partisans will be skeptical without a full accounting. Mueller looked for crimes, Congress must evaluate whether there is any evidence that Trump violated his oath of office.

Trump should not try to block the release of the report’s findings. The White House should be pleased no further indictments are coming from Mueller. If there is no evidence of a conspiracy to collude with the Russians, then Trump can claim vindication on that count.

But remember: Mueller showed definitively that Russia systematically tried to undermine the 2016 election. He indicted 34 people and has obtained seven convictions, including those of five former Trump advisers. Some of them lied about matters related to Russia. Why? Among them are Trump’s former campaign chairman, his former national security adviser and his former attorney.

The nation owes a debt of gratitude to Mueller for conducting a professional and leak-free investigation. In an era marked by the inevitable exposure of almost everything, that was an amazing achievement. May his quiet decency and civility be a model for all in what is still to come.

— The editorial board

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