Trump Aides Worry Mueller Report Will Expose Them as 'Leaks'

Clay Curtis
April 17, 2019

The White House is bracing for the public's first glimpse at some of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III's findings, but it likely would take a bombshell to alter President Donald Trump's approach to campaigning for a second term.

Democrats have noted that the Justice Department has released such information before, including some related to Mueller's own investigation while it was in progress. "The crime was committed by the other side, this crime was all made up, it was all a fabrication". White House officials will review the report, brief the president, and then release a statement that will come from White House press secretary Sarah Sanders. He's spent almost two years railing against special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

At this point, they wait for Attorney General Barr to save them - and he well might, because by now there's nearly no question that the redactions Barr makes will be created to minimize the political damage to Trump.

Congressman Jerrold Nadler, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee that is probing the election, told CNN on Sunday that Barr should release the full report and underlying investigatory evidence to his panel, but Barr has balked.

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

Mueller officially concluded his investigation late last month and submitted the confidential report to Barr.

Trump doubles down on "no collusion, no obstruction" refrain ahead of looming battle over Mueller report's contents; Kevin Corke reports from the White House.

Mueller on March 22 submitted to Barr a almost 400-page report on his 22-month investigation into whether the Trump campaign worked with Moscow to sway the election in his favor, and whether Trump committed obstruction of justice with actions to impede the inquiry.

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But with the country so divided, political experts doubt the special counsel's findings will change many minds about Trump, and by extension how his base of supporters view his re-election bid. But we do know, from both the special counsel's indictments of 12 "Russian intelligence officers" and other court filings (as well as through the work of news organizations and Congress' intelligence committees) that Russia did attempt to influence the 2016 USA presidential election.

"The greatest Scam in political history", he tweeted Tuesday. In the waiting game's final days, the White House continued to try to shape the narrative. Like when he incorrectly inferred that it proved his "total exoneration". "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 victory lap was deliberately premature, they said. That remark came after Barr told a Senate panel he believed there was "spying" by USA intelligence authorities on Trump's 2016 campaign - a charge he later tried to walk back.

One of Mr. Trump's attorneys, Rudolph W. Giuliani, told Politico that the president will release a counterreport Thursday that runs more than 30 pages.

But the people who work for Trump know that he doesn't feel that way. The crime was committed by the other side. This crime was all made up.

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 warrant was obtained after Page had left the campaign and was renewed several times. Republicans who were in the House majority past year, obtained documents related to the beginnings of the Russian Federation investigation, arguing that officials were biased against then-candidate Trump. Below is a rundown of some of what we know about the Mueller report's imminent unveiling and what we can expect when it lands on our collective doorstep.

The attorney general's comments have frustrated Democrats, already anxious for the release of the full, uncensored report and concerned that Barr may withhold pertinent information.

Barr said he would examine the details of how the FBI's counterintelligence investigation began. That probe was prompted by former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos' contacts with Russian intermediaries, including a Maltese professor who told the young aide that the Russians had dirt on Hillary Clinton in the form of emails.

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