WASHINGTON – The country might be divided on a whole host of political issues but on Friday, one thing seemingly united everyone: Special counsel Robert Mueller’s report should be made public.
From members of Congress and advocacy organizations to everyday people and those close to the president, nearly everyone has come to the same conclusion that releasing the report would end speculation surrounding the lengthy investigation, which has left a cloud over Donald Trump’s presidency.
Mueller gave his confidential report to Attorney General Bill Barr Friday afternoon, wrapping up his probe examing Russian interference in the 2016 election and any possible collusion between Russia and President Donald Trump’s campaign. Barr said in a letter to Congress that he was “reviewing the report, and anticipate that I may be in a position to advise you of the special counsel’s principal conclusions as soon as this weekend.”
But the conclusions are just the start and likely not to quell the intense calls for the report to be released in its entirety.
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“Elected officials work for the people and we deserve to see government business conducted in daylight,” the American Civil Liberties Union’s director David Cole said. “The Americans 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.”
Cole, who heads the left-leaning organization, urged for the Justice Department to “release the report swiftly.”
“If the Department of Justice does not make the Mueller report public, Congress should use its subpoena powers to make sure the truth sees the light of day,” he added.
The call echoed nearly everyone on social media Friday after the news broke that Mueller had finished his investigation.
“The Witch Hunt is over! Make the report public. Millions of taxpayer dollars wasted,” wrote Corey Lewandowski, a fierce advocate for Trump who previously served as his campaign manager.
A group of left-leaning advocacy organizations, including MoveOn.org, released plans to host nationwide protests if the report was not made public.
“If Barr/Trump hides the report from the public, we will take the streets again to demand that they #makeitpublic & #releasethereport,” a No matter your partisan views, the Mueller report should be made public to the full extent possible, subject only to unavoidable redactions. We must insist on that. website for the events read.
It wasn’t just those in Washington making these demands. Brain Klaas, a political scientist at the London School of Economics, said releasing the report publicly should be a given and not a debate.
“No matter your partisan views, the Mueller report should be made public to the full extent possible, subject only to unavoidable redactions. We must insist on that,” he wrote on Twitter.
Rep. Jim McGovern summed up the general feelings of most people succinctly: “Make. The. Whole. Thing. Public.” the Massachusetts Democrat wrote on Twitter.
Lawmakers on both sides were quick to call for transparency. However, Republican comments generally were vague, calling for what was legally allowed to be made public. Democrats generally were more aggressive in their calls for the report to be released.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer of New York released a joint statement saying it’s “imperative for Mr. Barr to make the full report public.” They called upon Barr to not give President Donald Trump, his lawyers or his staff a “sneak preview” of the special counsel’s findings or evidence.
“The president himself has called, without qualification, for the report to be made public,’’ Schumer said later. “There is no reason on God’s green earth why Attorney General Barr should do any less.”
Across the aisle, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., called for time for Barr to review the report. McConnell said in his statement he hopes Barr will provide as much information as possible and “with as much openness and transparency as possible.”
A CNN poll earlier this week found 87 percent of people believed Mueller’s findings should be made public. Only 9 percent said they didn’t believe it was necessary.
Contributing: Deborah Barfield Berry, Eliza Collins and Ledyard King