After nearly two years of investigations, Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report has been submitted to Attorney General William Barr, who has provided his summary of the principal findings. We are thankful that this important investigation was able to proceed to completion, that it was led by a man of integrity and independence such as Mr. Mueller, and faithfully executed by a team of respected professional investigators. America owes the special counsel team our sincere thanks.
We are also relieved that after numerous indictments, plea deals and interviews, the available evidence does not prove that the president was involved in a criminal conspiracy to help Russia attack our 2016 elections. That is a low bar for a president, but one that is nevertheless reassuring to have met.
But while these findings do not prove a crime, the publicly known results of the Mueller investigation prove a dangerous pattern of ethical, financial and political malfeasance by the president, his business associates, and his campaign. Mueller’s findings, as proven through indictments of Trump associates and Russian agents, paint a disturbing picture of a large-scale attack on our democracy, and a host of bad actors who, at best, stayed silent as those efforts progressed.
We already know, for example, that George Papadopoulos, Paul Manafort, Don Jr., Jared Kushner, Michael Flynn, and others all sought out and took meetings with Russian agents. In the case of Don Jr and the Trump Tower meeting, that meeting was an explicit effort to receive foreign intelligence on a political opponent.
At every step of the way, Trump and his campaign played fast and loose with campaign laws, hiding the multiple attempts by Kremlin agents to illegally assist from federal authorities and then lying to hide those efforts from the American people. That pattern of behavior is precisely what spurred Stand Up Republic to first call for an independent investigation.
Now that the criminal question has been investigated and – absent further revelations – resolved, it is time for America to consider the political questions which have been raised since Trump first implored Russia to hack his opponent. Namely, what personal responsibility does the president have for his campaign’s efforts to conceal ongoing attempts by the Kremlin to intervene in American politics. Even if that behavior is not criminal, it certainly fails to meet the standards we should hold for any elected leader.
To ensure the American people can reach a fully informed conclusion on Trump’s behavior and his refusal to act in the best interest of our democracy, we must be able to read Mueller’s full report, excepting any information not permitted to be released under the law. That transparency is essential in empowering the American people to hold our president accountable politically, and to ensure that we are free to promote leaders who serve the public will and national interest.
Without a full, public accounting, we won’t be equipped civically to secure our country from any such attack in the future. Whether that means tightening campaign laws which Trump associates skirted, or simply holding bad actors to account, we cannot begin to tackle these risks to democracy without first knowing the whole truth behind the attacks on our elections.