While Trump’s attorney general nominee is making it clear he’ll bury anything Robert Mueller has to say about Donald Trump, there is motion underway to make any report from the special counsel’s office public—and it’s being supported by a surprising name. As the Associated Press reports, Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal has introduced legislation requiring Mueller to submit a report “to Congress and the public,” and his partner in this effort is unfettered Trump backer Chuck Grassley.
The proposed legislation requires that Mueller, or any other special counsel, provide a report at the end of his investigation. It also mandates a report if the special counsel is fired or the investigation is suspended. The report required would not actually be the report, as in the report provided to the attorney general; however, it does require that the public report contain “all factual findings and underlying evidence.”
The bill will first come up for discussion in the Senate Judiciary Committee, the same committee that is currently involved in confirmation hearings for attorney general nominee William Barr. Barr has made it clear that he does not believe a sitting executive can be indicted. He has also stated that it is the obligation of the attorney general to treat a special counsel report as a “confidential document” with any discussion or “criticism” of an “uncharged third party” removed from the report before it is made public. That combination would seem to guarantee that, should Barr be confirmed, any report originating from the Justice Department will be completely shorn of any mention of Donald Trump.
Since the report produced under the proposed legislation would be a different report from that submitted to the attorney general, it’s not certain what rules would apply concerning the release of information on an unindicted co-conspirator. The Blumenthal-Grassley legislation is being submitted in the form of a draft amendment to a broader Senate bill designed to provide protection to the special counsel’s office. A draft of the legislation should be available later this week.