The news that Special Counsel Robert Mueller has closed his investigation without recommending criminal charges against President Trump is a relief. It is not a surprise.
Nor is it a surprise that the news has Trump antagonists clamoring for full disclosure of the special counsel’s final report. Mind you, when skeptics of the Trump-Russia investigation asked what the criminal predicate for it was, and on what basis the Obama administration had decided to monitor the opposition party’s presidential campaign, we were admonished about the wages of disclosure — the compromise of precious defense secrets, of deep-cover intelligence sources and methods. Why, to ask for such information was to be an insurrectionist seeking to destroy the FBI, the Justice Department, and the rule of law itself. Now, though, it’s only the uncharged president of the United States at issue, so disclose away!
Well, if we’re going to have disclosure, fine. But let’s have full disclosure: Mueller’s report in addition to the FISA applications; the memoranda pertinent to the opening and continuation of the investigation; the testimony in secret hearings; the scope memorandum Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein issued on August 2, 2017, after failing to cite a crime when he appointed Mueller — let’s have all of it.
As far as the special counsel’s report goes, because of the way the regulations work (at least when the Justice Department deigns to follow them), we now have Mueller’s bottom line, but not his reasoning and the underlying facts. It is the opposite of the Trump opposition’s preferred Roger Stone and George Papadopoulos scenario, where Mueller’s team spins pages and pages of “Gee, sure seems like a lot of almost-collusion here” before you flip to the end and find that there’s no case — just a campaign hanger-on who lied to an investigator long after the imaginary espionage conspiracy occurred. At the moment, we just have Mueller’s conclusion: There is no basis to indict the president for a crime — not collusion, not obstruction, not false statements. The collusion-peddlers, who took great umbrage at the suggestion that “VERIFIED” FISA surveillance-warrant applications should be disclosed, now demand Mueller’s full report so they can get to the familiar work of obscuring the bottom line and spinning the spin.