Do Democrats really want to see the unredacted special counsel report?

Do Democrats really want to see the unredacted special counsel report?
© Greg Nash

Despite their demands that Attorney General William BarrWilliam Pelham BarrBarr tells prosecutors to consider coronavirus risk when determining bail: report Decentralized leadership raises questions about Trump coronavirus response Feds distributing masks, other gear seized in price-gouging investigation to NY, NJ health care workers MORE release the full unredacted report by special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerCNN's Toobin warns McCabe is in 'perilous condition' with emboldened Trump CNN anchor rips Trump over Stone while evoking Clinton-Lynch tarmac meeting The Hill's 12:30 Report: New Hampshire fallout MORE, Democrats have shown little actual interest in viewing it themselves. In a solid gesture of transparency, Barr allowed a dozen members of Congress, six Democrats and six Republicans, to access the report with most of the redactions removed. While grand jury material had to be redacted to comply with federal requirements, this version of the report does include classified information, materials related to ongoing investigations, and information that could damage reputations of individuals not charged with crimes.

But prior to the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing with Barr last week, only two lawmakers had taken advantage of the opportunity, and both were Republicans. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham and Representative Doug Collins, the ranking Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, reviewed the unredacted information, and both said the new details did not change their assessment of the report in any way.

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Moreover, Senate Minority Leader Chuck SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerSchumer names coronavirus czar candidates in plea to White House Democrats struggle to keep up with Trump messaging on coronavirus Schumer: Fired inspector general will be remembered as a 'hero' MORE, House Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiWe need to be 'One America,' the polling says — and the politicians should listen Florida Democrat hits administration over small business loan rollout The Hill's Coronavirus Report: Dybul interview; Boris Johnson update MORE, and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler were also granted access to the document. Despite being some of the most vocal critics of the way Barr handled the release of the report, none of them bothered to review the information that they claim is so critical. Not even the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Senator Dianne Feinstein, deigned to read the less redacted version of the report prior to the attorney general testifying in front of her own panel.

Since the Democrats are so determined for the public to have access to the unredacted report, along with all the underlying evidence no less, their unanimous refusal to inspect the redacted information themselves raises some serious questions about their true motives in making such a fuss about the release of the full report. The Democrats had evidently “boycotted en masse” the opportunity to review the unredacted report because they wanted Barr to also remove legally required redactions of grand jury material and grant access to a broader array of lawmakers.

But that is just a sad excuse for their behavior. It is now abundantly clear, if it was not already, that the Democrats no longer truly believe there is anything significant hiding behind the redactions in the special counsel report. If they did then it would be grossly negligent of the Democrats to deliberately keep themselves in the dark about all those hidden details.

In fact, it increasingly appears that the Democrats would prefer that Barr never release the unredacted report at all. So long as the redactions are in place, they can keep making baseless insinuations about a nonexistent cover up. That is why the Democrats who have a chance to do not want to read the unredacted report because without actually seeing it, they do not have to lie about it to fit their narrative. They can let their imaginations run wild and simply claim ignorance in case the truth ever does get out.

Barr has bent over backwards to satisfy the Democrats with all of their purported concerns about the redactions, but they have only escalated their attacks on his character in response to each concession that he has made. Until the Democrats are willing to find out the truth for themselves, they have no business telling the public that the redactions are shielding something nefarious. By their own choice, the top Democrats in Congress are as ignorant as everybody else. The reality is there is nothing there.

Madison Gesiotto is an attorney and a commentator who serves with the advisory board of the Donald Trump campaign. She was an inauguration spokesperson and former Miss Ohio. She is on Twitter @MadisonGesiotto.