April 23, 2019

What You Won't See in the Mueller Report

17 April 2019, 05:31 | Glen Norman

AP Former FBI Director Robert S. Mueller

Former FBI Director Robert S. Mueller

Attorney General William Barr said he was redacting four types of information from the report, which the Justice Department said would be released Thursday.

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. However, contrary toTrump's false claim, Mueller did not reach a conclusion on whether Trump obstructed justice. But the political battle is far from finished over the special counsel's investigation of Russian efforts to help Trump in 2016 and whether there was cooperation with his campaign.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi accused the attorney general last week of "going off the rails".

Barr, a Trump appointee as the country's top law enforcement official, said last week he believes that top American intelligence agencies spied on the Trump campaign. Trump said on Twitter.

Trump has also insisted that the Federal Bureau of Investigation spied on him in the campaign. "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. House Judiciary chair Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) has threatened to subpoena Mueller's full report without redactions, a move that would conflict with the law regarding grand jury testimony. "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.

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Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee New York Representative Jerrold Nadler said he was prepared to issue subpoenas "very quickly" for the full report on Russian Federation and Donald Trump's presidential campaign if it was released with blacked-out sections.

"They got asked questions and told the truth and now they're anxious the wrath will follow", one former White House official said.

"I heard it's going to come out on Thursday".

That risk could also exist in the White House itself.

The special counsel's Trump-Russia report will be out on Thursday for all to see. "It's about agenda-setting", said Julian E. Zelizer, a politics professor at Princeton University.

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Rep. Adam B. Schiff, California Democrat and chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, has said Congress must see the full report without redactions. "The reason for this is because Republicans and Democrats in the electorate hate the other side so much".

The victory lap was deliberately premature, they said. "With abject complicity from the press corps, the administration succeeded in establishing the perception of the Mueller report - which is possibly even more important than the reality of what is in the document".

While the president unleashed his personal grievances, his team seized on any exculpatory information in Barr's letter, hoping to define the conversation in advance, according to White House officials and outside advisers who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly discuss private deliberations. Seventy-four percent of Republicans said it clears Trump of "any wrongdoing", while just 8 percent of Democrats responded that way.

Experts say men who self-identify as political independents will be key in the 2020 race. However, it now appears far more likely that Trump is going to win this battle not because the facts warrant it, but rather because Barr has done a highly contrived and seemingly masterful job of releasing the report in the least damaging fashion imaginable. "Unless there is something new and shocking in there, however, I wouldn't expect a fundamental change to the dynamics of public opinion". His predecessor, Jeff Sessions, was essentially fired the day after the midterms, just in time for Barr to take over when Mueller's investigation was finally completed (and oh, by the way, Barr's son-in-law now works directly for Trump).

Trump and his team seem aware that the absence of a prosecution recommendation from Mueller does not necessarily imply an absence of obstruction entirely.

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