Mueller report may be available in April
Free Press wire reports | 3/29/2019, 6 a.m.
U.S. Attorney General William Barr is combing through special counsel Robert Mueller’s report, removing classified and other information in hopes of releasing the report to Congress in April.
U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, told The Associated Press on Wednesday that he had dinner Tuesday evening with Mr. Barr, who said he is willing to testify before Sen. Graham’s committee after he sends the report to Congress. Justice Department officials said Tuesday that more information could be released in “weeks, not months.”
Democrats, meanwhile, frowned at the waiting game. Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland, one of six committee chairmen who have demanded the full report by next Tuesday, said much about the path forward depends on whether the report backs up Mr. Barr’s conclusion that Mr. Mueller found no evidence that President Trump colluded with the Russians to influence the 2016 elections. By Mr. Barr’s account, Mr. Mueller made no finding on whether the president obstructed justice, a question now in Congress’ hands.
“The president has now an opportunity for weeks, it sounds like, to do these victory laps,” while Democrats wait on key decisions about investigating the administration, Rep. Cummings said.
Challenges lie ahead for both the Republicans and the Democrats, who hope to deny President Trump re-election next year. Both parties are readjusting their aims and strategies in the post-Mueller probe landscape, pivoting to health care and other issues that are more important for many voters, even with Mr. Mueller’s full findings still unknown.
Sen. Graham said the attorney general is going through the report to take out grand jury material and classified information, neither of which can be publicly disclosed under the law.
Mr. Barr wants to make sure nothing is released that could compromise national security or intelligence sources and methods, Sen. Graham said. He said Mr. Barr also told him he wants to check with prosecutors who have cases associated with Mr. Mueller’s Russia investigation. Mr. Mueller had referred cases to other federal courts as part of his probe.
Sen. Graham later told CNN he had spoken to President Trump about the Mueller report, who said “just release it.” Sen. Graham said President Trump was unlikely to claim executive privilege on any of the material.
The attorney general released a four-page summary of Mr. Mueller’s confidential report on Sunday that said the special counsel did not find that President Trump’s campaign “conspired or coordinated” with the Russian government to influence the 2016 presidential election. It also said that Mr. Mueller reached no conclusion on whether President Trump obstructed the federal investigation, instead setting out “evidence on both sides” of the question.
Emboldened by the end of the investigation, President Trump on Tuesday strode into a high-spirited gathering of Senate Republicans, flanked by party leaders, saying the attorney general’s summary of Mr. Mueller’s report “could not have been better.” GOP senators applauded his arrival, and he celebrated what he called his “clean bill of health.” He showed an eagerness to move on, Republicans said, specifically to focus anew on repealing former President Obama’s signature health care law.