When Attorney General William Barr testified in front of the House Appropriations Committee, he was careful to deflect and avoid the question when asked if the Trump White House had seen or been briefed on the contents of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigative findings. Donald Trump was not as careful, insisting that he knew nothing other than what was contained in the four-page summary released by Barr when the investigation concluded.
In light of the new New York Times report, don’t forget that just last week A.G. Barr refused to comment on whether the White House had seen the Mueller report or been briefed on its findings beyond the four-page memo. pic.twitter.com/EMIZoOw1RU
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) April 17, 2019
Unsurprisingly, neither were being transparent. The Department of Justice has, in fact, briefed the Trump White House administration on the report’s findings, which has allowed them to prepare a response that will undoubtedly do several things, including confusing the issue with attacks on the investigators and doubling-down on the fictional origins of the report that Trump and the GOP have spread throughout the investigation.
According to The New York Times:
‘Justice Department officials have had numerous conversations with White House lawyers about the conclusions made by Mr. Mueller, the special counsel, in recent days, according to people with knowledge of the discussions. The talks have aided the president’s legal team as it prepares a rebuttal to the report and strategizes for the coming public war over its findings.’
Wow! FBI made 11 payments to Fake Dossier’s discredited author, Trump hater Christopher Steele. @OANN @JudicialWatch The Witch Hunt has been a total fraud on your President and the American people! It was brought to you by Dirty Cops, Crooked Hillary and the DNC.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 17, 2019
The news should come as no surprise, as Trump shifted his tone from crowing about the results of the investigation in recent days to once again attacking investigators. After all, why continue to insist that “18 Angry Democrats” were responsible for a report that fully exonerated him? Mueller’s investigators report that Barr’s summary was far too kind to Trump, and the report’s release can be expected to contain at least some significantly damaging evidence against Trump as he heads into the 2020 presidential election cycle.
‘Spokespeople for the White House and the Justice Department declined to comment. Mr. Barr, who plans a news conference at 9:30 a.m. Thursday to discuss the special counsel’s report, refused to answer questions from lawmakers last week about whether the department had given the White House a preview of Mr. Mueller’s findings.’
I’m deeply troubled by reports that the WH is being briefed on the Mueller report AHEAD of its release. Now, DOJ is informing us we will not receive the report until around 11/12 tomorrow afternoon — AFTER Barr’s press conference. This is wrong. #ReleaseTheReport https://t.co/bR50HhGJ0i
— (((Rep. Nadler))) (@RepJerryNadler) April 17, 2019
In addition to damage against Trump, the report may also damage the standing of the attorney general. His redactions will surely be analyzed in every imaginable way, including for what they may contain that is negative for Trump and his family. Should the report’s redactions not be enough to show “no collusion, no obstruction,” as Trump says, Barr’s decision to exonerate him of the crime of obstruction of justice may also come under question.
‘Much is at stake for Mr. Barr in Thursday’s expected release, especially if the report presents a far more damning portrayal of the president’s behavior — and of his campaign’s dealings with Russians — than the attorney general indicated in the four-page letter he wrote in March. That letter generated anger among some members of Mr. Mueller’s team, who believed it failed to adequately portray the findings of their inquiry and have told associates that the report was more troubling for Mr. Trump than Mr. Barr indicated.’
The release on Thursday of the special counsel's report on Russian election interference and the Trump campaign will likely begin months, if not years, of fights over what the document means in a deeply divided country. https://t.co/8AlUfoAs6K
— The Associated Press (@AP) April 17, 2019
Democrats continue the struggle to see the release of the full, unredacted report, although efforts by Barr to keep it under wraps continue. While Mueller determined that collusion with the Kremlin did not reach the level of criminal conduct, the ethical implications of what the public already knows and has seen proof of will also continue to be a factor in congressional efforts to demand transparency in the investigation.
‘The House Judiciary Committee has already authorized a subpoena for its chairman, Representative Jerrold Nadler of New York, to try to force Mr. Barr to hand that material over to Congress. Democrats involved in the planning say the subpoena could be sent to the Justice Department within a day of the redacted report’s delivery if Mr. Barr has withheld material the committee deems necessary for its work.’