The Mueller report isn’t out yet, but the rollout is and it’s already causing controversy.
The Justice Department will hold a press conference Thursday morning about the release of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report—but Mueller won’t be there and the document may not be released until after Attorney General William Barr speaks about the nearly 400 pages he went through to redact.
The House Judiciary Committee expects to get the Mueller report from DOJ following Barr’s press conference scheduled for 9;30 a.m., one committee member and one aide told The Daily Beast. “They are making Al Capone look straight,” the member said.
House Democrats immediately pounced on the Justice Department’s plans. Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler, who is prepared to subpoena the department for Mueller’s evidence, ripped Barr.
“Attorney General Barr wrote to me on April 1: ‘I do not believe it would be in the public’s interest for me to attempt to summarize the full report,’” the New York Democrat wrote. “I agree. So why is the AG holding a press conference tomorrow morning to go over the Mueller report?”
Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff said not to trust what Barr says on Thursday.
“Bill Barr sent a letter purporting to summarize Mueller’s conclusions. He took it upon himself to reach a conclusion on obstruction. He adopted the President’s “spying” smears. Now, he will spin a report no one has read,” he wrote. “My advice: Wait to read Mueller’s words for yourself.”
Rep. Val Demings (D-FL) was one of the first Democratic lawmakers to voice concerns, tweeting, “Pretty convenient of the Attorney General to take questions on the report before anyone has a chance to read the report.”
Meanwhile, the New York Times reports DOJ officials have briefed the White House on Mueller’s findings while President Trump’s team prepares a public-relations offensive against the investigation that Trump has called an illegal “witch hunt” for two years. Nadler also tweeted he is “deeply troubled” by the Times report.
— With additional reporting by Sam Stein