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Opinion: Republicans and Democrats demand transparency, but security should still be considered

Updated: Apr 10, 2019

Sparknotes has great summaries of classic books such as Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment, Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities and even Shakespeare’s large catalog of plays. The site captures the essence of the complex characters and slowly unfolding plot. Yet these summaries do not include the minute details that reveal new depths and understandings for the reader of 1800s Russia, the French Revolution or 1500s England.


Capitol Hill is currently reading the Sparknotes of Robert Mueller’s detailed report on the investigations into the Trump administration. This shortened summary glosses over the details of the nearly two-year investigation, leaving out important information in the character development and rising action.


On Sunday, March 24, Attorney General Bill Barr released a four-page summary of the 300-page Mueller report to Congress after nearly two years of investigation. This summary concluded that there was not enough evidence to charge or exonerate the President or members of his administration for collusion with Russia. Mueller left the matter of obstruction of justice unanswered.


“If it was indictable by a court, I think Mueller would not have left it up to interpretation,” former Congressman Tom Rooney said. “Mueller essentially said, ‘I dont have the proof to go to court and get a conviction.’ Rather than indict the President on obstruction or someone close to him, he left it open.”


The Democrats and many Republicans are now demanding access to the report rather than settling for the summary.


“I am a big fan of transparency,” Rooney said. “But if something is still labeled as classified, you are not able to talk about it. As much of the report and investigations that can be released should be released but don’t release classified information.”


The Democrats, regardless of whether they are motivated by wanting Trump out of office or securing the 2020 election, are doing their job in Congress. However, transparency does have a limit when confidential material is involved. Information concerning the integrity of the country, the intelligence community or even those involved in the case should be kept out of the public sphere.


The request for government transparency is an honorable pursuit which the Democrats are chasing fiercely. However, as many Republicans have argued, is it time to end this investigation? Are the American people tired of hearing these discussions from leaders?


“Here is the political reality,” Rooney said. “Does Pelosi take the risk of going through an impeachment proceeding when it could have the unintended consequences of the American people being done with it? I think Pelosi is smart enough to know that politically something could backfire.”


Only time will tell whether the Democrats will continue with investigations and potential impeachment trials and how the American people will respond. However, the point remains that safe information from the Mueller report should be released.


Transparency is vital regardless of party or policy.


By Maddie Coggins

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