Robert Mueller and the Department of Justice Special Counsel’s Office had been investigating potential collusion between President Donald Trump and Russia in the 2016 election for the past two years. During the two years, as President Trump publicly criticized the report on multiple occasions, the investigation also expanded to determine is President Trump obstructed justice or attempted to obstruct justice in any matter related to the investigation. On March 22, the office submitted the final version of their report to the Attorney General, William Barr, who then sent a four-page summary of the report to Congress on March 24. In this summary, Barr stated that Mueller found no evidence connecting President Trump to Russian officials during the 2016 election but did find evidence of Russian attempts at intervention, and did not find enough information to either exonerate or find President Trump guilty on the topic of obstruction of justice. The investigation as a whole, but especially the published summary, has been the subject of extreme divisiveness and controversy, with those on the left generally being in support of investigating into potential ties to Russia, and those on the right feeling that it was witch hunt based on little evidence as a political power grab. This divisiveness is even present here on campus.
If there is one common thread in the campus opinion, it is that there is a desire to see the full report. Music business senior Ryan Chiasson said, “When the rest of it comes out, that’s what I’m basing my opinion on.” Dorothy Nankanja, another UMass Lowell student, feels that “they should release the evidence he did collect on the issue.” Freshman computer science major Jake Lutton echoed a similar viewpoint, stating, “It’s not a report yet, it’s like six sentences.” These opinions seem a bit less rooted in political lean than one might expect for such a contentious document. This thread of bipartisanship in opinion is not entirely omnipresent though; senior psychology major Samar Ramy also felt similarly but for more extreme reasons, stating that it “all sounds incredibly sketchy” and feels that “something is trying to be hidden,” due to the secrecy regarding the specific contents of the report and the hesitancy to release the full thing. This is not an uncommon opinion; many feel that if the report was truly exonerating as it seems, then there would be more a clamor on the administration’s side to release the full report to prove it.
However, not all students share similar sentiments of what the public has right now, since the report was just released, and instead feel that the whole report and investigation should be left in the past. Junior political science major Jonathon Arias feels that “we should focus more on other things besides the collusion,” and senior math major Austin Joyce called it a “witch hunt” and that he’s glad that “at least it’s over.”
While it is unlikely that the whole ordeal is, in fact, over, as those sharing these viewpoints might like to think, there is likely to be another press wave when the entire report drops mid-April, which is bound to generate more controversy and debate.