In the immediate wake of Robert Mueller’s announcement that he has not established a criminal conspiracy between Russia and Donald Trump, the jovial president declared he would be happy to display the entire report before the public. “Let it come out. Let people see it — that’s up to the attorney general,” he said.
But over the last few days, the administration’s position on full disclosure has grown quieter. Meanwhile, periodic murmurs have suggested perhaps the report will amount to something other than total vindication. “Privately, some Trump advisers acknowledge those attacks may have a shelf life, and that they are deploying them in part to blunt questions about Mr. Trump’s own credibility,” notes the New York Times. A senior White House official tells my colleague Olivia Nuzzi, “There will be plenty of unfavorable things about the president in the full report, which we think will eventually come out, so let’s not go overboard saying there’s no wrongdoing. Let’s move on.”
This morning, Trump tweeted, “There is no amount of testimony or document production that can satisfy Jerry Nadler or Shifty Adam Schiff. It is now time to focus exclusively on properly running our great Country!” Today, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders answered a question about the Mueller report by calling Democrats “sore losers” who need to move on. Trump is now calling demands to release the report a “disgrace” and a “waste of time.”
It’s possible Trump is just so committed to a wide-ranging view of executive privilege he will insist on withholding a report that humiliates his critics and disproves all the unfounded suspicions the Fake News has raised about his relations with Russia. Or possibly he’s concerned Congress will waste precious time reading a long, boring report whose conclusion we’ve already been told, when it should be getting urgently to work on his ambitious legislative agenda of … um … [tumbleweed rolls by.]
On the other hand, maybe, just maybe, the Mueller report is less flattering than William Barr’s topline summary indicated?