Trump tax returns, Mueller probe report become focus of continuing spat

The Mueller Report and the State of Journalism

"A summarizing statement from an attorney general demonstrably hostile to the special counsel investigation-written without consulting Mueller-is not sufficient in any way, especially when the administration's public messaging about the report exonerating Trump seems to directly contradict the text of Barr's letter", said Baker.

The committee also authorized Nadler to subpoena documents and testimony from five of Trump's former aides, including former political adviser Steve Bannon and former White House counsel Donald McGahn.

The modern-day Republican Party is masterful when it comes to grabbing soundbites and repeating them endlessly in the hope of persuading public opinion-and the most prominent GOP mantra of recent weeks has been "no collusion, no obstruction, complete and total exoneration", President Donald Trump's March 24 tweet in response to Robert Mueller's final report for the Russian Federation investigation. Mueller's team did not establish that Trump or his campaign conspired with Russian Federation to help Trump win during the 2016 election, according to Barr's four-page summary, an accusation Trump and his associates have long denied.

Those interviewed by the Times declined to fully explain why the Mueller investigators believe their findings were more damaging to Trump than Barr disclosed.

"It was much more acute than Barr suggested", one anonymous source told the Post.

As a reminder, Special Counsel attorneys are working with Barr and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein on redacting material unable to be lawfully released.

It is also unclear how extensively Mueller and his team spoke to senior Department of Justice officials about how their findings of the investigation would become public, the Times said.

As Lawfare's Benjamin Wittes notes, Barr has provided an entirely reasonable blueprint for redactions: "Barr has laid out a short time frame in which he has promised to make a capacious set of disclosures subject to a few discrete areas of necessary confidentiality".

But the allegations that Barr mishandled the findings of the special counsel investigation may be a "game-changer" for Democrats who want to see the entire report made public. Schiff says there is evidence-what kind of evidence is he citing, without having seen the report? "Bob Mueller runs a very tight ship, and that ship does not leak", David Kris, a former assistant attorney general who worked closely with Mueller, told Vox in late 2018.

Nick Akerman, a member of the Watergate prosecution team, added that Barr's summary was nothing more than a "political letter" that made it sound as though there was nothing in the Mueller report that showed any wrongdoing by the president or his campaign team.

Democratic efforts to compel the release of the Mueller report to Congress from the Department of Justice ended as expected on Wednesday, but not without vocal pushback from Republicans.

Both the Times and the Post reported that the Mueller team had prepared their own summaries of the report.

Under current regulations, Mueller only had to submit his full report to Barr, which he did on March 22.

The regulations, which were implemented in 1999 after Ken Starr had concluded his investigation into then-President Bill Clinton that ultimately resulted in his impeachment do not mandate that Congress receive the report.

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