Mueller Report Out Thursday. First, a Telling Weekend Activity

Key Trump advisers were watching the Masters, not obsessing on response, reports Axios
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 15, 2019 9:11 AM CDT
Updated Apr 15, 2019 11:12 AM CDT
Trump Team Foreshadows a Theme on Mueller Report
The letter from Attorney General William Barr to Congress on the conclusions reached by special counsel Robert Mueller, photographed on Sunday, March 24, 2019.   (AP Photo/Jon Elswick)

The big day is near: The Mueller report—or at least a redacted version—will be released on Thursday, reports NBC News. Not that that President Trump's team seems all that worried. Over the weekend, Jonathan Swann of Axios called around to top Trump advisers who will be handling the response, and he found that two of them (unnamed) were watching the Masters. (In their defense, it was a great Masters.) The piece describes Trump's own approach as "fairly blasé." Related coverage:

  • Expect this: Trump's outside legal team will read the report separately from official White House attorneys, per Axios. Expect a more aggressive response from the first camp. The post has a quote from aide Kellyanne Conway that might hint at a preview: "If we've gone from two years of roaring 'indict and impeach' to now a more resigned 'embarrass and harass' the president ... then no wonder many Americans demand answers as to how this all started and who was involved."
  • Echoing that: The president on Monday echoed Conway's point. "Mueller, and the A.G. based on Mueller findings (and great intelligence), have already ruled No Collusion, No Obstruction," he tweeted. "These were crimes committed by Crooked Hillary, the DNC, Dirty Cops and others! INVESTIGATE THE INVESTIGATORS!"

  • The strategy: The New York Times frames Trump's strategy as so: "Now, as Mr. Barr prepares to submit a redacted version of the report, Mr. Trump’s plan of attack, aides said, is to act as if the report itself is extraneous to Mr. Barr’s brief letter." That is, Trump has and will continue to focus on the bottom line, as relayed in Attorney General William Barr's four-page summary: that Robert Mueller did not recommend charges of collusion or obstruction. Similar to Axios, the Times says the White House has only a "bare-bones" plan for the report's release.
  • Four colors: What's happening now at the Justice Department is "the most consequential editing process in the country," per the Los Angeles Times. Lawyers from the department are going over the Mueller report line by line, redacting details in four color-coded categories: grand jury evidence, classified information, ongoing investigations, and the privacy of "peripheral third parties." The vagueness of the last category in particular is already raising concerns that too much will be blacked out.
  • Democrats: They say they need to see the full report to make sure Barr didn't cherry-pick facts or interpret some incorrectly in order to cover for the president, according to an NPR primer on the report and where we are now.
  • What to look for: Politico Magazine talks to Trump supporters, critics, academics, and "legal insiders" on what they'll be looking for when Barr releases the report. An example from one in the critics' camp, Donna Brazile: “I am most interested in reading if anyone inside the campaign reported to the FBI or others any contact with Russian officials or individuals who promised to provide dirt."
(More Mueller report stories.)

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