The text of the special counsel’s detailed, damning report is rightfully receiving much attention. Most analysis has nevertheless failed to appreciate the narrow channel Robert Mueller needed to navigate when crafting this report—and just how deftly he managed to do so.
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On April 23, Benjamin Wittes hosted a panel discussion at the Brookings Institution unpacking what we learned from the redacted version of the Mueller report. The panel featured Susan Hennessey, Chuck Rosenberg and Margaret Taylor. They discussed the factual record Mueller established on Russian interference and collusion, whether the president's conduct constitutes obstruction of justice and how Congress and the American people might react to the report.
Reading the report carefully and writing my thoughts as I go.
Mueller did not find a criminal conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia, and he did not conclude that President Trump had obstructed justice. But he did not exonerate the president either.
If the president’s lawyers release their prewritten rebuttal in response to the Mueller report, attorney-client privilege will not shield them from having to testify before Congress.
Congress has managed twice to obtain federal grand jury information in prior special counsel investigations, but the legal and factual landscape surrounding those situations is distinct from the landscape surrounding the Mueller report.
On Thursday, Justice Department Spokesperson Kerri Kupec released a statement, included in full below, regarding Attorney General Bill Barr's letter concerning the Mueller report.
I was pleased to host this discussion at the Brookings Institution yesterday with Susan Hennessey, Margaret Taylor, both of Brookings, and former National Security Division chief Mary McCord, now at Georgetown law. It's a very good discussion of where we are with the Mueller Report and the congressional politics surrounding it.
The completion of the Mueller investigation is no small democratic accomplishment and was not a foregone conclusion in an environment in which the president has repeatedly sought to smear and frustrate the investigation.
Before today, we asked what Mueller was going to do. Today, we ask a subtly different question: What is it that he has written?