- Attorney General William Barr will send the special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on the Russia investigation to the White House before the public sees it, Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said Tuesday.
- Graham said Barr told him he would send the report to the White House first in case it wants to claim executive privilege over any parts.
- Mueller’s full report is likely to contain crucial details about the motivations behind the myriad contacts and meetings President Donald Trump’s associates had with Russians, as well as Trump’s repeated deference to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
- Trump’s defence lawyers have previously said they want a chance to review and “correct” the Mueller report before it’s made public.
Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said Tuesday that Attorney General William Barr told him he would send the special counsel Robert Mueller’s final report on the Russia investigation to the White House before the public sees it, in case it wants to claim executive privilege over any parts.
Graham, who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, also said Barr told him it would most likely take “weeks, not months,” to make a version of Mueller’s final report public.
Barr on Sunday released his own summary of Mueller’s report, saying it did not find that the Trump campaign conspired with Russia to influence the 2016 election. Barr said Mueller declined to come to a conclusion on whether Trump obstructed justice in the investigation and instead laid out all the evidence prosecutors had collected before handing in his findings to Barr and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.
Barr and Rosenstein said there was not sufficient evidence to determine whether Trump obstructed justice. Their conclusion alarmed legal experts, who said Barr’s past comments on the obstruction inquiry may have compromised his ability to make impartial decisions about that aspect of the investigation.
Last year, Barr sent a memo to the Justice Department, the White House, and Trump’s legal team criticising the obstruction inquiry as a “legally insupportable” investigation that should not be sanctioned by the Justice Department.
House Democrats are now pushing for the full release of the Mueller report, arguing that it is likely to contain crucial details that could answer lingering questions about the myriad contacts and meetings between Trump associates and Russians, as well as Trump’s repeated deference to Russian President Vladimir Putin during the campaign and after taking office.
Barr’s summary did not provide any details about Mueller’s findings in an FBI counterintelligence investigation, later folded into the broader Russia inquiry, into whether Trump was acting as a Russian agent; that investigation was launched in May 2017, after Trump fired James Comey as FBI director, citing “this Russia thing” as his motivation. But Justice Department veterans have said the special counsel’s full report is likely to answer many of the questions the public still has.
Trump’s lead defence lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, told INSIDER last year that Trump’s team would want a chance to review the Mueller report before it’s made public to correct any inaccuracies.
Giuliani told INSIDER that Trump’s team would waive executive privilege if “we had an adequate opportunity to review the report before it was released to the public; if we felt that – even if we disagreed with its findings – it was fair; and if we had the chance to release a rebuttal report simultaneously that addresses all of Mueller’s allegations.”
Giuliani doubled down on his argument in an interview with The Hill in January.
“As a matter of fairness, they should show it to you – so we can correct it if they’re wrong,” Giuliani told the outlet. “They’re not God, after all. They could be wrong.”
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