Mueller Time: ACLU Demands DOJ 'Swiftly' Release Special Counsel Report to the Public
Special Counsel Robert Mueller on Friday submitted the highly-anticipated report based on his nearly two-year investigation into alleged Russian interference during the 2016 U.S. elections, possible collusion between the Trump campaign, and so-called "related matters."
In response, the ACLU immediately called for the report to be made public.
According to the Associated Press:
The comprehensive report, still confidential, marks the end of Mueller's probe but sets the stage for big public fights to come. The next steps are up to Trump's attorney general, to Congress and, in all likelihood, federal courts.
The Justice Department said Mueller delivered his final report to Attorney General William Barr and officially concluded his probe of Russian election interference and possible coordination with Trump associates. The report will now be reviewed by Barr, who has said he will write his own account communicating Mueller's findings to Congress and the American public.
As NBC News notes, "It is not clear how soon, if at all, the public will see the details of Mueller's findings." Shortly after news of its submission, however, the ACLU demanded the report not be concealed from the voting public.
"Elected officials work for the people and we deserve to see government business conducted in daylight," said ACLU's national legal director David Cole. "The American people have a right to know if President Trump and his associates coordinated with Russia to interfere in our elections, the full extent of Russian efforts to affect our elections, and any attempts to interfere with Special Counsel Mueller's investigation. We urge the Department of Justice to release the report swiftly, once it has minimally redacted any information that is properly withheld."
If the DOJ decides not to make the Mueller report public, Cole added, "Congress should use its subpoena powers to make sure the truth sees the light of day."
The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights echoed the ACLU's call.
"No one, not even a president, is above the law," said Vanita Gupta, the group's president and CEO, in a statement.
"The American public must have confidence that their elections are fair and free from undue foreign influence," Gupta said. "Accordingly, Attorney General Barr must make the report available to Congress and the public. Just this month, a unanimous, bipartisan House of Representatives called for the report to be public. This is not just about protecting civil and human rights and upholding the rule of law – this is about restoring trust in our elections and shining light on potential crimes and corruption that threatens our democracy. The people and their elected representatives deserve the truth."
Several outlets release "everything-you-need-to-know" videos about the Mueller probe for those who may have lost track:
As a refresher, here’s what you should know about the Republican-appointed, former FBI director turned Special Counsel Robert Mueller pic.twitter.com/lsKdL6wHPM
— NowThis (@nowthisnews) March 22, 2019
— TicToc by Bloomberg (@tictoc) March 22, 2019
In a letter sent to top members of the House and Senate Judiciary Committees just after 5 PM eastern, Barr confirmed that Mueller had "concluded his investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election and related matters" and that he would follow, possibly within hours or days, with additional information. "I am reviewing the report," Barr said in the letter, "and anticipate that I may be in a position to advise you of the special counsel's principal conclusions as soon as this weekend."
Read the full letter from Barr below: