Ken Starr, Democrats Clash Over Mueller Report

And other reactions to Friday's news
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 23, 2019 10:40 AM CDT
Ken Starr Tells Mueller What to Do
Attorney General William Barr leaves his home in McLean, Va., on Saturday morning, March 23, 2019.   (AP Photo/Sait Serkan Gurbuz)

Robert Mueller's report is in, but remains under wraps—leaving all of us to wonder what's next. Enter Benjamin Wittes, who writes a sober analysis at Lawfare: Among "certain things we do know," he writes, Mueller finished the probe "on his own terms" without interference from the attorney general, and Mueller won't indict anyone else. But that leaves a lot unknown. Was there no collusion between President Trump's campaign and Russia, or did evidence fall short of proving criminal conduct? Did Mueller just adhere to the "longstanding position" that presidents can't be indicted? Or is Mueller referring other defendants to other prosecutorial offices? "Without knowing the reasons the investigation is finished, it is impossible to know how to assess its end—and nobody should try," per Wittes. For more, including Ken Starr's take:

  • Impeachment: Evidence short of criminal conduct might still be politically damaging to Trump: "It could fuel calls for impeachment, which Democratic leaders have resisted absent proof of wrongdoing," says the Washington Post.
  • The interview: CNN is curious why Mueller's team never interviewed Trump in person. Maybe a subpoena carried the risk of a "lengthy court battle ending with a ruling in Trump's favor." Or maybe the DOJ did interfere?
  • Another subpoena: Democrats are suggesting they might subpoena Mueller to reveal whether there was political interference in the investigation, the LA Times reports.
  • Barr's release: Another question is how much Attorney General William Barr will release to Congress. A federal rule says everything should be kept secret except elements related to an indictment or some other legal proceeding, per the Post.
  • "God's green earth": But Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer are calling to see the full report—and Trump himself said it should be made public, per USA Today. "There is no reason on God’s green earth why Attorney General Barr should do any less," says Schumer.
  • "Remain quiet": Former Clinton independent counsel Ken Starr says Mueller himself has a solemn obligation. "That solemn obligation is not to produce a public report," writes Starr at the Atlantic. "He cannot seek an indictment. And he must remain quiet."
  • From Hollywood: Jim Carrey has added his two cents with another artwork-tweet—this one a painting of Barr accompanied by, "The Mueller report is out! The question now low will this Barr go?"
(More Robert Mueller stories.)

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