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San Diego Union-Tribune: Barr’s redactions of Mueller report will be revealing

April 4, 2019

Attorney General William Barr’s announcement that he’ll release a redacted version of the report by special counsel Robert Mueller on the Trump campaign’s contacts with Russian operatives should not have come as a surprise. Barr says it’s not appropriate or good for national security to release grand jury and personal information or information that could compromise the intelligence community’s sources, methods and ongoing operations.

But Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee — who wanted the report by Tuesday, not the mid-April release that Barr promised — voted to subpoena the entire report Wednesday and to seek all the underlying material gathered by investigators. They note that Congress was provided grand jury testimony during the impeachment investigations of Presidents Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton, even though they fail to emphasize that both Democrats and Republicans have a history of changing their positions on this issue depending on who benefits politically.

That selective history is why some Democrats — disappointed with how Barr said Mueller’s investigation did not establish collusion between Trump and Russia — want to see Mueller’s paper trail as they search for buried bombshells. This could lead to a protracted court fight with the attorney general. But this should not drive Barr’s decision-making. Here’s what should: The credibility of Mueller’s report is directly proportional to how much of it is released. Heavy redactions would feed already-high levels of political mistrust and partisan division.

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