Release the Executive Summary!

Dan Drezner has a question:

This question has come up a lot recently, and I’m pleased to help out. Here’s the answer: if the Mueller report is like every other report done in Washington DC, it includes an executive summary that’s, oh, probably ten pages long. Since this is Mueller’s summary of his own report, you can trust that it accurately portrays the main body of the report. Thus, all you have to do is read the executive summary, grab a few quotes and factlets from the body of the report, and then summarize the summary.

This is how almost everyone handles long reports. Barr surely didn’t want to read hundreds of pages of Mueller droning on about how Donald Trump might be guilty of obstruction of justice, but he also wanted to avoid embarrassing himself by missing something important because he only skimmed the report. The executive summary makes this possible, since nothing truly important will be left out. But take it from a pro: you should be careful to take your quotes from the report itself so that people don’t think that you only read the executive summary.¹

And while we’re on the subject, this is what I think Bill Barr could release right away: the executive summary of the Mueller report. These summaries usually don’t include the kinds of details that might compromise sources and methods, nor would they jeopardize ongoing trials. What’s more, even if you’re afraid that some parts might need to be redacted anyway, the whole thing is only a few pages long. It could be reviewed in hours or days, not weeks.

And yet, apparently Barr has no intention of letting us see even this. Does anyone besides me find that suspicious?

¹No, of course I don’t do this myself. I read every report carefully and thoroughly. Please.

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Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2019 demands.

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