DOJ, strength of U.S. civil service system highlighted as redacted Mueller report released
- By Nathan Abse
- Apr 18, 2019
Special Prosecutor Mueller’s final report on Russian interference in America’s 2016 elections was finally released, in redacted form—as promised on Thursday, April 18, 2019. With the long-awaited event, the U.S. Department of Justice—the cornerstone of federal law enforcement with over 100,000 federal employees and a $30 billion budget—comes under the spotlight on the world stage, as the institutional legitimacy behind the Mueller investigation.
While the public, journalists and politicians of both major parties began to pore over the 448-page report, long-simmering controversy over the Mueller investigation again ramped up. In fact, the release of more of the special prosecutor’s report gave evidence justifying arguments on both sides—those who view the two-year probe as excessive and those who see in it extreme wrongdoing, and possibly impeachable offenses, by the current president.
On the one hand—just as reported in summary form in early April—Mueller’s report concluded that Russia interfered in the U.S. elections—but that candidate Trump’s campaign only “showed interest” in WikiLeaks and other Russia-aided embarrassments to his opponent, without committing conspiracy or breaking the law in this regard. Specifically, the report said, “the investigation did not establish that members of the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.”
On the other hand, the hundreds of pages of the full report quickly offered numerous examples of legally debatable activities engaged in by the campaign and the current White House. Specifically, the report offered instances of problematic actions, which some see as obstruction of justice, by the current White House—actions that led the report’s authors not to state unequivocally that the Trump campaign broke no law. “If we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the President clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state,” the Mueller report stated—unfortunately, the report went on to say, “we are unable to reach that judgement.” Notably, too, the report said some 14 additional legal probes were referred by Mueller to other legal arms of the government—among them, reportedly the DOJ’s own Southern District of New York.
The legal and constitutional quandaries flaring over the release of the redacted report—and the expected congressional hearings to follow—are all part of a difficult time in America, and for all sides of official Washington and federal employees throughout the U.S. and the world.
But federal civil servants—including the thousands who work at the storied DOJ, founded in 1789 as a one of the core agencies of the federal government—can be expected to carry on with their departmental missions, without fear or favor, as the non-partisan instruments of executing the laws and defending the sturdy government institutions of this 238-year-old nation.
The redacted report by the Department of Justice’s Special Counsel Robert Mueller is available via a link on the Special Counsel’s web page and directly on the Department of Justice’s website.