Fight Over Mueller Report Strains the Governance System
Over the last week, tremendous tension has arisen between the executive and legislative branches concerning the contents and release of special counsel Mueller’s investigative report, among other ongoing congressional oversight initiatives. The following list includes actions that have taken place over the last week that break important precedents and norms, thereby posing long-term threats to our governing institutions.
- April 30: Attorney General William Barr fails to appropriately summarize the findings of special counsel Mueller’s report to Congress, arguably neglecting the duties of his office by leaving out key context regarding the outcomes of the investigation. Letters from special counsel Mueller to Attorney General Barr express the special counsel’s disappointment with how the findings were summarized to Congress, underlining the importance of Congress’ future ability to access the full Mueller report.
- May 1: The House Oversight Committee’s request to obtain documents regarding potential abuse of the administration’s security clearance approval process is denied by the White House. The request was submitted in light of the committee’s continued investigation into the White House’s clearance approval process, and its denial further threatens Congress’ ability to review potential abuses of this important national security process.
- May 5: President Trump expresses sentiments that two years of his presidency were “stolen” due special counsel Mueller’s investigation and retweets the idea that he “should have 2 yrs added to his 1st term as pay back for time stolen by this corrupt failed coup.”
- May 7: Former White House counsel Don McGahn, acting on instruction from the White House, refuses to comply with a congressional subpoena ordering the release of documents related to special counsel Mueller’s investigation. This, among other individuals’ actions in contempt of Congress, blatantly disrespects the legislature’s oversight powers and responsibilities.
- May 8: At the request of the Department of Justice, the White House invokes executive privilege over special counsel Mueller’s unredacted report and additional evidence, blocking congressional access and effectively censoring the special counsel’s findings.
The president and each member of Congress took an oath to support and defend the Constitution. The public and our constitutional system would be better served if each of them remembered their pledge.