Immediately after the end of the Mueller investigation on alleged collusion between his campaign and the Russians, President Donald Trump must have heaved a huge sigh of relief. After all, ever since the investigation began 22 months ago, he had said again and again that there was no collusion but few believed him.
Then, his handpicked Attorney General William Barr had released a four-page letter stating that special counsel Robert Mueller had not found any evidence of collusion.
In its aftermath, the mood in the White House was celebratory, and as he is wont to do, Mr. Trump claimed that he had been completely absolved of any and all wrongdoing.
This was not quite correct.
Since no one had actually seen the final report except for a handful in the Justice department, Barr’s conclusion had not a few Democrats wondering aloud if maybe he had not been forthright in his interpretation of the 400-page document submitted by Mueller.
Suspicions grew after Barr hemmed and hawed about releasing the report in its entirety to Congress. He had insisted that he could only submit the redacted version and he would do so at his own schedule.
Barr’s attitude did not sit well with some very important congressmen from the Democratic majority in the House of Representatives. No one has said it yet outright, but those same congressmen from the House majority could if they so choose block the operational budget of the office of the Attorney General.
Sooner or later, Barr will be forced to reveal the contents of the Mueller report in its entirety, and legal analysts have stated that there may be many things in that document that could prove to be Mr. Trump’s undoing.
There may not have been any collusion that could be proven in a court of law, but there may be multiple instances when the president attempted to obstruct attempts to establish the truth.
Most importantly, Barr acknowledged in his short summary that Mueller did not exonerate Mr. Trump from wrongdoing.
There are many ways of interpreting Barr’s four-page missive. It may or may not have been an objective reading of the contents of the report, given that Barr had suggested that there should not have been an investigation in the first place. This was before he was appointed AG.
Indeed, there is only one way to remove any cloud of doubt on the supposed exoneration of Mr. Trump, and that is for the Mueller report be released in full. If not to the general public, then at least to the members of Congress.
As for Mr. Trump, he has already said that there should be no need to release the full contents of the report. This is a complete turnaround from his earlier statement that he was ok with the public knowing its contents.
Clearly, the giddiness of being told that he had been exonerated has passed, and Mr. Trump is now sensing that he will be neck deep in legal troubles if the Mueller report contains more damaging information about his activities before and after he became president.
Mr. Trump has no reason to celebrate as yet. In fact, he may have many reasons to worry in the weeks and months ahead because of Robert Mueller’s impeccable record as an investigator. The special investigator could not have produced 400-plus pages of nothing nor spend close to two years going nowhere.