What Robert Mueller and William Barr need to tell usRoundup
tags: legal history, Trump, Mueller, William Barr
The writer is White Burkett Miller professor of history and J. Wilson Newman professor of governance at the Miller Center of Public Affairs at the University of Virginia.
During his confirmation hearings, attorney general nominee William P. Barr cautioned that while he intended to provide “as much transparency as I can” about the results of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation, he might be required to keep certain elements of the counsel’s report that dealt with grand jury matters confidential. Mueller and his staff should consider dividing their report into two parts, one of which would provide the public an overall narrative of their findings about Russian efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election. The American people and the American government deserve those facts.
Unlike past independent counsels, including Leon Jaworski, who investigated the Nixon administration, or Kenneth Starr, who pursued the Clinton-Lewinsky affair, or the 9/11 Commission, for which I served as executive director, Mueller is acting as a Justice Department employee who is conducting a special investigation for the attorney general. Yet, from the start, the Justice Department made this work broader than just a legal investigation.
In appointing Mueller in May of 2017, and elaborating the scope of his work in August 2017, Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein referred to and endorsed former FBI director James B. Comey’s description of Mueller’s mission as a counterintelligence inquiry into “the Russian government’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.” That counterintelligence investigation could extend to the investigation of what crimes were committed, but was not limited to the criminal questions.