Special counsel Robert Mueller’s conclusion that President Donald Trump’s campaign did not collude with Russian operatives to influence the 2016 campaign is good news. A finding of such collusion would have been a disaster, possibly prompting a constitutional crisis.
Mueller also decided that there was not enough evidence to conclude whether Trump obstructed justice in connection with the probe, although Mueller stopped short of exonerating the president. U.S. Attorney General William Barr, in consultation with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, determined that there wasn’t enough evidence to pursue such a charge.
Although the question of collusion has deepened America’s partisan divide, Republicans and Democrats in Louisiana and throughout the nation should find common cause on one key finding from Mueller that’s been downplayed. His exhaustive report confirms what U.S. intelligence agencies already know: The Kremlin did, indeed, use hacking and disinformation to influence the 2016 presidential election.
Although Russia’s meddling seemed orchestrated to help Trump, that kind of interference ultimately benefits neither party, clouding confidence in the result of an election regardless of who’s elected. That’s why the president and Congress should be laser-focused on how to prevent such meddling in the future.
A key way to rebuild public confidence in our political system is transparency. “I continue to agree with President Trump that the (Mueller) report should be public so that all Americans can judge for themselves and our country can move on,” Louisiana’s U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy said in a tweet. The U.S. House of Representatives, where House Minority Whip Steve Scalise of Jefferson Parish is a key leader, has already voted overwhelmingly to support the report’s release.
Some portions of the report might involve national security or other pending investigations that could make releasing the entire report problematic. But the more information Americans have concerning such a controversial issue, the better off we’ll be.
News of Mueller’s completed report broke over the weekend, as sports fans in Louisiana were savoring the LSU basketball team’s win over Maryland to advance to the Sweet 16 tournament for the first time since 2006. The dueling headlines from the worlds of Washington and college sports were a reminder that these days, politics seems to seep into just about everything.
We hope for calmer times for our country, especially since there’s so much work to be done. The front page of Monday’s edition of The Advocate included not only the latest on the Mueller probe, but an article about possible changes to the federal flood insurance program that could affect thousands of Louisianans.
Such stories underscore how important it is for the president and Congress to focus on the practical work of governance, which is hard to do as Washington rocks from scandal to scandal.
We hope Mueller’s brings clarity to a confusing chapter in American history. In the meantime, Americans of every political stripe owe him a debt of thanks.