On the evening before the public release of the redacted findings of the Mueller investigation, reports emerged that Justice Department officials have had several conversations with White House lawyers, helping President Trump’s legal team to prepare a rebuttal, and his PR team to plan counter-programming against the coming media frenzy.
Barr Will Release Report After Thursday Morning Press Conference
In an effort of questionable logic — or just a last-ditch endeavor to stall for time — Attorney General William Barr will hold a press conference Thursday morning at 9:30 a.m., then release the report to Congress somewhere between 11 a.m. and noon. If this timeline, as presented by Representative Jerry Nadler, is confirmed, reporters will be asking Barr about a 300-page report they haven’t yet seen, let alone taken the time to digest.
The Report Will Be Lightly Redacted
According to the Washington Post, the report will be “lightly redacted,” offering “detailed blow-by-blow of his alleged conduct — analyzing tweets, private threats and other episodes at the center of Mueller’s inquiry, they added.”
Barr Cements Reputation as Trump’s Fixer
That President Trump received an advance notice to aide his legal and P.R. teams infuriated critics who already claim that Barr’s handling of the Mueller report summary and no-call on obstruction of justice were issued in favor of the president. Thursday’s irregular timeline for Barr’s conference and the Mueller release certainly doesn’t help that appearance.
“He has demonstrated that he understands loyalty to the president, rather than an oath to the Constitution,” Rhode Island Congressman David Cicilline told the New York Times. “The president said, ‘I want to have my own Roy Cohn,’ and he may have found him.”
Leaks Are Coming (Probably)
Another piece of Mueller news dropped on Wednesday evening — one that could alleviate the frustration of report readers stymied by big redacted blocks in Thursday’s reading. According to NBC News, after the redacted version of the report is released to the public, the Justice Department intends to allow “a limited number of members of Congress and their staff” to review a version of the report “without certain redactions.”
Of course, “certain redactions” is an extremely ambiguous phrase, one that will most likely be clarified by Democratic members of Congress upon their review. Also possible from those same members of Congress: leaks of the less-redacted report.
Mueller Will Almost Certainly Be Subpoenaed
In a very brief news conference on Thursday evening, House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler called William Barr’s actions “cherry picking” and that the AG has “baked in a narrative about the report to the benefit of the White House.” As a consequence, Nadler told reporters that his committee will subpoena special counsel Mueller and members of his team in “very short order,” assuming that the report is not light on redactions.
How to Read the Report
According to BuzzFeed News reporter Zoe Tillman, the report will be sent to Congress on CDs, an interesting medium for what is presumably a text file or PDF. For the rest of us, the Mueller report will be posted on the special counsel website after it’s sent to Congress — although there still isn’t a time for the public release.
This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.