Attorney General William Barr leaves his home in McLean, Va., on Monday, April 15, 2019. Barr told Congress last week he expects to release his redacted version of special counsel Robert Mueller's Trump-Russia investigation report "within a week." (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana) Photo: AP
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Trump ups his attacks with Mueller redacted report due for release on Thursday

27 Comments
By MICHAEL BALSAMO and JONATHAN LEMIRE

The president isn't waiting. As Washington counts down the final hours until publication of the redacted special counsel report — now expected Thursday — Donald Trump stepped up his attacks Monday in an effort to undermine potential disclosures on Russia, his 2016 campaign and the aftermath.

He unleashed a series of tweets focusing on the previously released summary of special counsel Robert Mueller's conclusions — including a crucial one on obstruction of justice that Trump again misrepresented — produced by Attorney General William Barr.

"Mueller, and the A.G. based on Mueller findings (and great intelligence), have already ruled No Collusion, No Obstruction," Trump tweeted. "These were crimes committed by Crooked Hillary, the DNC, Dirty Cops and others! INVESTIGATE THE INVESTIGATORS!"

Press Secretary Sarah Sanders repeatedly tried to make the same case on TV talk shows on Sunday. 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.

Democrats are calling for Mueller himself to testify before Congress and have expressed concern that Barr will order unnecessary censoring of the report to protect the president. The House Judiciary Committee, led by Rep. Jerry Nadler of New York, is poised to try to compel Barr to turn over an unredacted copy as well as the report's underlying investigative files.

The Justice Department announced Monday that it expects to release the redacted version Thursday morning, sending the findings of the nearly two-year probe to Congress and making them available to the public.

Mueller officially concluded his investigation late last month and submitted the confidential report to Barr. Two days later, the attorney general sent Congress a four-page letter that detailed Mueller's "principal conclusions."

In his letter, Barr said the special counsel did not find a criminal conspiracy between Russia and Trump associates during the campaign. However, contrary to Trump's false claim, Mueller did not reach a conclusion on whether Trump obstructed justice. Instead, Mueller presented evidence on both sides of that question. Barr said he did not believe the evidence was sufficient to prove that Trump had obstructed justice, but he noted that Mueller's team did not exonerate the president.

Portions of the report being released by the Justice Department will be redacted to protect grand jury material, sensitive intelligence, matters that could affect ongoing investigations and damage to the privacy rights of third parties, the attorney general has said.

The scores of outstanding questions about the investigation have not stopped the president and his allies from declaring victory.

They have painted House Democrats' investigations as partisan overreach and have targeted news outlets and individual reporters they say have promoted the collusion story. The president himself seethed at a political rally that the whole thing was an attempt "to tear up the fabric of our great democracy."

He has told confidants in recent days that he was certain the full report would back up his claims of vindication but was also convinced the media would manipulate the findings in an effort to damage him, according to two Republicans close to the White House not authorized to speak publicly about private conversations. In the waiting game's final days, the White House continued to try to shape the narrative.

"There was no obstruction, which I don't how you can interpret that any other way than total exoneration," press secretary Sanders said on "Fox News Sunday."

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.

The victory lap was deliberately premature, they said.

But Trump's inner circle knows there will likely be further releases of embarrassing or politically damaging information. Barr's letter, for instance, hinted that there would be at least one unknown action by the president that Mueller examined as a possible act of obstruction. A number of White House aides have privately said they are eager for all Russia stories, good or bad, to fade from the headlines. And there is fear among some presidential confidants that the rush to spike the football in celebration could backfire if bombshell new information emerges.

Trump and his allies also continue to attack the origins of the Russia investigation, portraying it as an effort by Democrats and career officials in the Justice Department to bring him down.

"The Mueller Report, which was written by 18 Angry Democrats who also happen to be Trump Haters (and Clinton Supporters), should have focused on the people who SPIED on my 2016 Campaign, and others who fabricated the whole Russia Hoax. That is, never forget, the crime." Trump tweeted Monday.

His long-asserted accusation — though not supported by evidence — that his campaign was spied upon was given new life last week when Barr, testifying before Congress, said he thinks "spying did occur" in 2016.

Barr may have been referring to a surveillance warrant the FBI obtained in the fall of 2016 to monitor the communications of former Trump campaign aide Carter Page, who has not been charged with any wrongdoing. The warrant was obtained after Page had left the campaign and was renewed several times. Critics of the Russia investigation have seized on the fact that the warrant application cited Democratic-funded opposition research, done by a former British spy, into the Trump campaign's ties to Russia.

Barr later softened his tone to "I am not saying improper surveillance occurred."

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. The report could provide new information that could prompt further investigations or even consideration of impeachment proceedings, a tricky political calculation since Mueller did not conclude there was collusion or obstruction.

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. 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.

© Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.


27 Comments

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Release the report. The non-redacted one. One might even say the long form one....

12 ( +13 / -1 )

These were crimes committed by Crooked Hillary, the DNC, Dirty Cops and others! INVESTIGATE THE INVESTIGATORS!"

You are the president of the United States of America, I for one would truly appreciate it if you would start acting like one, and stop acting like a 4 year old child!

12 ( +13 / -1 )

Coverups take time!

What we will see on Thursday is the Barr report, not the Mueller report.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

including a crucial one on obstruction of justice that Trump again misrepresented —

'Misrepresented'? Doubtful Trump's even read the report, instead just relied on little Stephen Miller and Jared to tell him what was in it.

Trump also knows that many of his followers will not read the report. They're waiting to echo what he tells them. Expect to see increased use of 'exonerate', 'innocent', 'spy', 'witch hunt', 'no collusion', 'investigate the investigators', '18 angry Democrats', etc. etc. ad nauseam. Beer hall rally slogans. Context-free sloganeering, an age-old tactic of demagogues.

Many in Trump's base use slogans as substitute for reasoning.

"to tear up the fabric of our great democracy."

Another example of the Trump regime using slogans to influence those in their base unable to reason for themselves. Trump's doing what he can to undermine the principles the US is based on, and while doing so trying to get his followers to think it's those who oppose him - and use Constitutional rights to do so - who are anti-democracy.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

"I watched Attorney General William Barr open his mouth and Donald Trump's words popped out of it."

Sen. Hirono

Let see the damn report with as little as possible being redacted. Otherwise, without hindsight, what the Russians (and Republicans) ave done will go unchecked and could easily happen again.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

The real question is how long it's going to take until Congress is able to actually see the report, and not the black-markered mess that Barr is going to try to feed them, to cover up his and Trump's incompetence.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Coverups take time!

Democrats would know this.

What we will see on Thursday is the Barr report, not the Mueller report.

Oh, please, it’s the Mueller report. Don’t know how many reports we’ve seen from Democrats where we saw pages and pages of Black. It’s coming. You guys are anticipating this more than the latest first episode of Game of Thrones, relax. Lol

if you are a Trump hater, the report won’t change that or your hatred or opinion of the President, if you are a Trump supporter, nothing will change your suspicion or support for the President.

-7 ( +2 / -9 )

Lots of speculation flying around. Patience is key.

Of course, we'll have Trumpophiles here soon enough to tell us everything we need to know about the unreleased report.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

@bassif you are a Trump hater, the report won’t change that or your hatred or opinion of the President, if you are a Trump supporter, nothing will change your suspicion or support for the President.

Once again in binaryland for those unable to leave their silos there are only 2 kinds of people. Neither able to reason for themselves. Some call that 'projection'.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Being that Barr was given the job as his personal lawy..,I mean A.G. to protect Trump,you know there are hidden goodies in the report.He ain't gonna just give you.But if you can go after a president over a stain on a dress,you damn well better find out why Russia owns Trump like they do.Redacted or not.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

cracaphat - you know there are hidden goodies in the report.He ain't gonna just give you.But if you can go after a president over a stain on a dress,you damn well better find out why Russia owns Trump like they do

Billy Clinton was impeached for lying under oath. That is illegal. There was an actual crime.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

No point releasing a redacted report.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Dems are desperate for any dirt on Trump. Pathetic.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

@serranDems are desperate for any dirt on Trump. Pathetic.

Trump backers are desperate to ensure Trump, his family and those he's bought to do his dirty business are protected,

along with the many other corrupt elites who've long been doing damage to the US at home and abroad.

Pathetic.

No one is above the law.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

@glty No point releasing a redacted report.

Don't worry. Unless Trump's able to have his deepstateswamp stormtroopers led by little Stephen Miller, Pompeo, Bolton etal seize control, some time along the way full truth will come out.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

"There was no obstruction, which I don't how you can interpret that any other way than total exoneration," 

Well, Sarah, apparently there was evidence on both sides. And no, we aren't going to trust a proven scammer and known liar because that would be illogical in any situation with any similar person.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

"Mueller, and the A.G. based on Mueller findings (and great intelligence), have already ruled No Collusion, No Obstruction," Trump tweeted. "

Why is this man still lying about the obstruction?

Release a redacted report. If only to stop Trump's lies.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

A 2 yr fake investigation that turned up zip and the Left are still whining, it’s over, no new charges or indictments, now it’s time to go after Comey and his little band and maybe Obama to see if the FISA was obtained legally, Comey in interviews has admitted they didn’t disclose all the details to the FISA judge but let’s wait and see, now in the meantime President Trump should be left alone to run his Country as he was fairly elected to do.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

If only to stop Trump's lies.

Trump won't stop lying; he probably can't. He's shown he's a pathological liar. And he knows his truest believers will not question his lies.

For example:

@bas4 f you are a Trump supporter, nothing will change your suspicion or support for the President.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

It is funny that after an exhaustive 2 yr investigation nothing incriminating turned up but the Left can’t accept the decision because they don’t want to, it hurts them that they were so wrong, now they have resorted to making stuff up, Trump’s clear, he will also win in 20/20, get used to it.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

A 2 yr fake investigation that turned up zip and the Left are still whining

How was the investigation "fake"? Have you read the report?

34 people indicted is hardly "zip" and Trump was not totally and completely exonerated, according to what Barr summarised.

President Trump should be left alone to run his Country as he was fairly elected to do.

Run it into the ground, more like. The problem with leaving dictators to their own devices is that the people tend to suffer - the marginalised and poor, the most.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

It is funny that after an exhaustive 2 yr investigation nothing incriminating turned up

It's funny how the right keep claiming this. All that spinning can't be good for their balance.

See my answer above.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Toasted

How can you have a charge of obstruction when there wasn’t a crime committed? No collusion so how can Trump obstruct a non crime. Think about it.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

How can you have a charge of obstruction when there wasn’t a crime committed? No collusion so how can Trump obstruct a non crime. Think about it.

Have you read the report?

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Toasted

No, but what does no new charges or indictments tell us, nothing in that report will incriminate Trump or his family or Mueller would have recommended charges, now look at the 34 people charged, no charge laid in relation to Russian collusion which the probe was supposed to be about, all process crimes, most were merely Russian social media posters who will never make it to court.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

Toasted

Im saying fake because the Steele Dossier was unverified and was used 4 times to obtain a FISA, Comey admitted in an interview that the FBI never told the judge that it was funded by Clinton, around 8 FBI agents working the probe were found to be Biased and removed, Peter Stroz was sacked, Mueller Knew in August 2017 that they hadn’t colluded with Russia but carried on the investigation, why?

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Remember, Trump has stated he has no problem with the whole report being released, now does that sound like he’s trying to cover it up? Trump has co-operated thoughout the investigation, so where’s the problem?

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

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