Published: Wed, April 17, 2019

Donald Trump Hates the Mueller Report Except When He Doesn’t

Donald Trump Hates the Mueller Report Except When He Doesn’t

Attorney General William Barr arrives to appear before a Senate Appropriations subcommittee to make his Justice Department budget request, April 10, 2019, in Washington.

Donald Trump Jr. lied about his meeting with a group of Russians to get dirt on Hillary Clinton. In a world turned upside-down, it wouldn't be at all surprising if a process meant to show that Trump is "innocent", and which eventually allows him to emerge victorious, may actually end up providing some of the strongest indications that he is actually guilty. "Just in time for Easter, it will be a insane quilt of colors created to cover up key facts and, nearly more important, break the flow - and diminish the power - of the Mueller Report as written", tweeted Elizabeth de la Vega, who served as a federal prosecutor for more than two decades. He's called it a "witch hunt" more times than we can count.

Of course! It will do both at the same time, or so we will hear.

Because sometimes he loves the Mueller investigation.

Let's consider the Democrats' narratives first.

Democrats are calling for Mr. Mueller himself to testify before Congress and have expressed concern that Attorney General William P. Barr will order unnecessary censoring of the report to protect the President. After Barr published his letter, Democrats doubled down on those allegations by adding accusations that Barr was covering up for his boss.

"To deny the Judiciary Committee and the Congress the knowledge of what's in parts of the Mueller report is not proper", Nadler said.

Congress frequently receives classified documents and briefings, and Democrats said there was no reason the Mueller report should be any different. All Barr intended with the summary letter, Rosenstein explained, was to give the "top-line conclusions" in as timely a manner as possible.

Trump and his allies also continue to attack the origins of the Russian Federation investigation, portraying it as an effort by Democrats and career officials in the Justice Department to bring him down. Since there was no Collusion, why was there an Investigation in the first place! Seventy-four percent of Republicans said it clears Trump of "any wrongdoing", while just 8 percent of Democrats responded that way.

Mueller did not indict Trump, giving some credence to the president's two-year mantra "NO COLLUSION!"

In a letter to lawmakers two days later, Barr said Mueller did not find that members of Trump's campaign engaged in a criminal conspiracy with Russian Federation. The special counsel also reviewed whether the president obstructed justice, but ultimately did not come to a conclusion on the topic, instead leaving the decision up to the Justice Department.

It's that choice that now stands to face the most intense scrutiny, and it seems likely the investigative report will have a pro-con list of actions and declarations that could arguably have justified charging the president. Now they're anxious that the report will confirm this, and that it will enrage Trump. The president typically engages reporters on his way to an idling Marine One helicopter on the White House's South Lawn.

Barr, though, said he identified four areas of the report that he believed should be redacted-including grand jury material, information the intelligence community believes would reveal intelligence sources and methods, any material that could interfere with ongoing prosecutions and information that could implicate the privacy or reputational interests of "peripheral players". "You have a whole bunch of former White House officials and current White House officials, but especially former White House officials, who were told to cooperate", one ex-staffer said. The fact that they're so concerned tells us two important things. The likelihood is high that details from the report will keep the White House press office busy for the next several weeks parrying criticisms and that they will make Trump's "the Mueller report was great" victory lap look pretty silly.

The Russia probe began on July 31, 2016, when the FBI opened a counterintelligence investigation into Russia's efforts to influence the presidential campaign and whether anyone on the Trump campaign was involved. If the predicate for the warrant was valid, then the FBI's operation was proper. "[But] the mainstream narrative of the Mueller report has already congealed".

Which means that Thursday will be a big day for anyone interested in the so-called "Trump-Russia" saga.

At this point, however, one has to wonder how engaged voters remain on Russiagate. "You just don't need it".

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