Monday, Feb. 11, 2019 | 2 a.m.
Darkness is poison for democracy, which is the underlying reason why Nevada’s congressional delegates should support a bipartisan bill to require disclosure of information in the Trump Russia investigation.
The bill, introduced late last month by Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley and his Democratic colleague Richard Blumenthal, calls for special counsel Robert Mueller to issue a report to Congress and to the public when the investigation is complete.
Covering their bases, Grassley and Blumenthal also wrote in a requirement for a report to be made public within two weeks if a special counsel is ousted or resigns. The bill specifies that the report would include all factual findings and underlying evidence.
It’s an important measure given the upcoming confirmation vote for attorney general nominee William Barr, who would oversee the investigation should he be approved. Barr hasn’t committed to releasing the full report, merely saying that a summary should be made public.
With Barr widely expected to be confirmed, Congress should take the guesswork out of it by approving the Grassley-Blumenthal measure.
“A special counsel is appointed only in very rare, serious circumstances involving grave violations of public trust,” Blumenthal said in explaining the reasoning behind the bill. “The public has a right and need to know the facts of such betrayals of public trust.”
That’s absolutely correct. Grassley added that Americans had a right to know how the government was doing its business and spending taxpayers’ money, which is also correct.
Given the seriousness of the evidence that Mueller’s team has uncovered, and the fact that investigators had indicted or drawn guilty pleas from more than 30 people, it’s critical for a full report to be released.
A short legal summary simply will not do. Americans deserve to know exactly what Trump and his associates were up to, and how Mueller and his investigators went about their business.
Trump, for his part, has given mixed messages on disclosure of the report. In his recent appearance on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” Trump first indicated that it was “totally” up to the attorney general to decide how much to release. But when asked in a follow-up question whether he would have a problem with the full report being released, he said: “I don’t know. It depends. I have no idea what it’s going to say.”
Wherever Trump may stand on the matter, though, it’s telling that he’s not among those shouting the loudest for the release of a full report. If the Mueller investigation truly has been a 20-month-long witch hunt, as Trump incessantly insists it has been, there would be no better way to prove it than to release full details to the public.
In not advocating for full disclosure, Trump is yet again acting like a man with something to hide. That’s another key reason the Grassley-Blumenthal bill deserves support. Given the gravity of Mueller’s findings thus far — ties between close Trump aides and Russian operatives, illicit use of campaign funds, etc. — Americans need to know everything that Trump and all the president’s men have been up to.