Juan Williams: Mueller report must not be whitewashed

Juan Williams: Mueller report must not be whitewashed

It is time to start asking what happens if special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE’s report on the Trump campaign’s ties to Russian interference in the 2016 election never sees the light of day.

The Senate Judiciary Committee last week delayed a vote on the confirmation of President TrumpDonald John TrumpDemocrats' CNN town halls exposed an extreme agenda Buttigieg says he doubts Sanders can win general election Post-Mueller, Trump has a good story to tell for 2020 MORE’s nominee to be attorney general, William Barr, after Democrats on the panel expressed alarm at his repeated failure to say he will release the report.

Then Sens. Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyOn The Money: Inside the Mueller report | Cain undeterred in push for Fed seat | Analysis finds modest boost to economy from new NAFTA | White House says deal will give auto sector B boost The 7 most interesting nuggets from the Mueller report Government report says new NAFTA would have minimal impact on economy MORE (R-Iowa) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) introduced a measure last week that would require the full report be available for Congress and the public.

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But that’s closing the barn door after the horses are gone.

At this point, it is even money that Trump’s attorney general — whether it be Matt WhitakerMatthew G WhitakerEx-federal prosecutor: 'Thank God' Whitaker is gone, Barr will bring 'integrity' back to DOJ GOP pollster says Dems are relitigating 2016 election with investigations of Trump Former senior FBI official calls Whitaker hearing ‘disgraceful’ MORE or Barr — edits the special counsel report to a meaningless death or outright buries it.

That is when the president and all the president’s men will tell their supporters that whatever is public from the report is best ignored, amounting to nothing more than “process crimes,” such as lying and obstructing justice.

Trump’s puppets in Congress — beginning with Rep. Devin NunesDevin Gerald NunesTrump hits Twitter: 'They don't treat me well as a Republican' Ten post-Mueller questions that could turn the tables on Russia collusion investigators Schiff, Nunes pressed DOJ for Mueller briefing MORE (R-Calif.) — as well as his blind loyalists in the conservative media echo chamber are already mimicking Trump’s language to dismiss the report as a “witch hunt.”

So, it is important to spotlight that the facts are already on display and revealing of crimes. Impeachment by the House may be the least of the president’s problems.

For example, we know from one indictment that an American “in regular contact with senior members of the presidential campaign of Donald J. Trump,” was communicating with one website leaking information allegedly provided by a foreign government, Russia.

Roger StoneRoger Jason StoneThe Hill's Morning Report - Is impeachment back on the table? End of Mueller shifts focus to existing probes Heavily redacted Mueller report leaves major questions unanswered MORE, the Trump insider who was charged with seven felonies last week, has said he is “probably” the American cited in that indictment.

Last month Trump’s campaign chairman, Paul ManafortPaul John ManafortWhy did Mueller allow his investigation to continue for two years? Manafort transferred to minimum security federal prison Poll: Nearly half of Republicans say no one on Trump campaign committed a crime MORE, was revealed to have shared Trump campaign polling data with a Russian political consultant associated with Russian intelligence operators.

We also know that during the campaign, Donald Trump Jr.Donald (Don) John TrumpTrump Jr. slams 2020 Dems as 'more concerned' about rights of murderers than legal gun owners It is wrong to say 'no collusion' Nadler: I don't understand why Mueller didn't charge Donald Trump Jr., others in Trump Tower meeting MORE was told by a businessman that as “part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump,” a Russian official planned to give Trump’s team information to damage Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonDavis: The shocking fact that Mueller never would have accused Trump of a crime Trump says he would challenge impeachment in Supreme Court The Hill's Morning Report - Will Joe Biden's unifying strategy work? MORE’s campaign.

“If it’s what you say I love it,” replied Trump Jr.

Days later, Trump Jr. met with a Russian at Trump Tower in New York, along with Manafort and the president’s son-in-law, Jared KushnerJared Corey KushnerHasan Minhaj calls out Kushner at event over ties to Saudi crown prince Kushner saying immigration plan will be 'neutral' on legal admissions: report Dems charge ahead on immigration MORE. Within weeks, thousands of confidential Democratic National Committee emails flooded the internet.

During the campaign and transition, Trump’s aides and advisors had more than a hundred meetings, calls and texts with Russians, according to public documents. Trump’s people have repeatedly lied about these contacts.

And we know that when the Trump campaign was threatened by the release of the “Access Hollywood” tape in which the president boasted of grabbing women by the genitals, another barrage of emails was dumped, including documents stolen from Clinton’s campaign chairman.

Later, Trump Jr. exchanged messages with WikiLeaks on a private message server.

“Fifteen minutes later, candidate Trump tweets about WikiLeaks. Two days later, Trump Jr. tweeted to a link to WikiLeaks’ archive,” according to a timeline by PolitiFact.

Those are facts.

Now here is the view of those facts from the political left and right.

First, here is Jon Favreau, a former aide to President Obama, on the “Pod Save America” podcast summarizing the public record:

“We have laid out here that the Trump campaign knew there was a conspiracy on behalf of the Russian government to interfere with our election, to elect [Trump] president and not only agreed to it, but wanted that to happen and sought it out…agreed to participate.”

Next, here is Kim Wehle, a former assistant U.S. attorney, writing at the conservative website The Bulwark.

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Pointing to grand jury indictments won by Mueller, she writes that Trump campaign officials may have been involved in more than ‘collusion.’ Public documents suggest they may have been party to the actual crime of conspiracy with a foreign government intent on breaking U.S. law to disrupt an American presidential election.

“The Trump campaign was involved,” she concludes. “That much is clear from the grand jury’s charging papers.”

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Polls show the public has faith in Mueller.

Fifty-five percent of Americans told Pew last month that they have confidence in a fair report coming from the special counsel.

A Monmouth poll last month found 69 percent of Americans say they believe Russian government “definitely” or “probably” tried to interfere in the 2016 presidential election. Only 69 percent? You think?

It feels like we are entering the final act of this American tragedy.

What will happen to free and fair elections in our American democracy if Trump and his aides bury the report while his supporters persist in drinking the Kool-Aid and dismiss the whole thing as “fake” news?

Juan Williams is an author, and a political analyst for Fox News Channel.