Giving Congress an unredacted Mueller report is inviting trouble
Democrats on the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee are playing a dangerous political game. In doing so, they threaten the nation’s security, as well as a time-honored facet of the justice system.
Special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on his investigation of whether President Donald Trump or others in his 2016 campaign cooperated with Russia to influence that election has been completed. It is in the hands of Attorney General William Barr and others in the Department of Justice.
Mueller’s team found no proof of the alleged “collusion.” Democrat leaders want to see his full report, however, in the hope it will give them ammunition for their ongoing attempt to impeach Trump.
Barr has indicated he will release the document — but with redactions. They would include information that, if released, could harm national security. In addition, redactions could involve information obtained by grand juries.
Grand juries frequently hear presentations that do not lead to indictments. Releasing that sort of information could sully the names of some people who have committed no crimes. Merely having one’s name linked to the probe in any way could harm a person’s reputation — which is why grand jury proceedings traditionally have been kept secret.
Judiciary committee Democrats are rejecting even redactions made for that purpose.
More important is the fact they are not even willing to accept redactions intended to safeguard national security. Information on how intelligence and law enforcement agencies operate falls into that category.
No doubt the politicians seeking the full report will pledge not to breathe a word of the sensitive information they want to see. Given the propensity of some lawmakers and their staffs for leaking information they think might help them politically, such pledges are worthless.
Judiciary panel members were to vote Wednesday on whether to issue a subpoena for the full, unredacted report. Let us hope firebrands on the committee come to their senses before the vote takes place.