Americans eagerly await the findings of former FBI Director Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. Until he’s done, it’s too soon to pass judgment, especially not based on a sketchy memo released Friday.

Share story

Americans want the truth about Russia’s attack on their democracy in the 2016 election.

They want to know who was involved, especially anyone connected to the current president, and about any wrongdoing uncovered as this troubling chapter in America’s history is investigated.

A ballyhooed memo released Friday by Republicans controlling the House Intelligence Committee — with the assent of the president — does not shed any light on the situation.

The memo does, however, give Americans new insight into the depths President Donald Trump and his allies will sink to undermine the federal investigation into Russia’s interference in the election and any links to Trump’s campaign.

Such a reckless attempt to discredit the FBI and Department of Justice raises serious concerns about a constitutional crisis.

Americans must have patience and faith that former FBI Director Robert Mueller, a Republican, will conduct a fair investigation. Until he’s finished and findings are presented, it’s too soon to pass judgment.

Contrary to appearances, House Speaker Paul Ryan insists the memo is unrelated to Mueller’s investigation and said the investigation must continue. Ryan must be held to his word, and Congress must not interfere.

U.S. Rep. Denny Heck, an Olympia Democrat on the Intelligence Committee, said this must be a bipartisan effort. Russia is opportunistic and could try to help a Democrat next time, he notes.

Looking beyond the memo, Heck’s priorities include strict sanctions to punish Russia for its interference and prevent it from happening again.

Meanwhile, Americans can’t get sidetracked by the memo and lose sight of what’s really going on.

The intelligence community concluded that Russia interfered with the 2016 election, including efforts to manipulate opinion and hack voting systems in 21 states.

Mueller was appointed special counsel last May and by the end of the year, four Trump advisers, including his former campaign chief and national security adviser, were criminally charged for lying or concealing Russian activities.

A next step in the investigation should be Mueller’s interview of Trump himself.

As word emerged last summer that Mueller was looking at possible obstruction of justice, Trump tried to impugn and fire Mueller but was stymied when the White House counsel threatened to quit.

Now we see a new line of attack, attempting to slime the investigation, with a memo released by a Trump ally, California Republican U.S. Rep. Devin Nunes.

Don’t fall for it.

The memo cherry-picks a few morsels from the classified record to insinuate that the FBI’s investigation is tainted by partisan bias.

This is far-fetched given that respected Republicans lead the investigation. It’s also rich coming from a president who benefited from the FBI’s publicized investigation of Hillary Clinton’s email handling.

There is no smoking gun in the memo, only a faint, shaky and dotted line between one facet of the investigation and the Clinton campaign.

Yes, the record of material used to obtain a warrant to monitor Trump associate Carter Page included a dossier partly funded by the Clinton campaign, as the memo highlights. The dossier was also partly funded by Republicans.

Either way, this dotted line means nothing unless you can see the rest of the lines that drew a net around Page. Without a fuller explanation of what was presented to the court, revelations in the memo do nothing but feed the trolls and suspicions of those inclined to see a twig and ignore the forest.

It’s like pointing to the floor to prove the earth is flat — sure, the floor is flat, but you’re not seeing anything close to the whole picture.

The real story should emerge soon enough.

Then Americans and their Congress can turn their attention to cleaning house, increasing election safeguards and imposing unavoidable sanctions on Russia.