WASHINGTON — The Justice Department will release a redacted version of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election Thursday, giving the public and Congress the deepest look yet into its investigation of President Donald Trump’s campaign.
The long-anticipated report is the culmination of a remarkable inquiry into whether the president’s aides collaborated with the Russian government’s efforts to sway the election in his favor. That investigation plumbed deeply into Trump’s campaign and his administration, and while prosecutors concluded that nothing they unearthed constitutes a crime, the accumulation of evidence the government is set to release could subject Trump to further scrutiny.
The report’s disclosure is the public’s first opportunity to hear directly from the special counsel about the evidence his office gathered during its nearly two years of digging and the conclusions they reached.
Attorney General William Barr and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein are scheduled to discuss the report at 9:30 a.m. EDT.
Barr is expected to detail the Justice Department’s interactions with the White House in the weeks since receiving Mueller’s report and whether executive privilege was asserted on behalf of the president, Justice spokeswoman Kerri Kupec said.
Barr, who has been the target of a heated criticism for his handling of Mueller’s report, also is expected to explain what information was redacted from the document.
The Justice Department is expected to release the report to Congress and the public later in the day.
Trump began Thursday morning with a pair of tweets denouncing the probe as a hoax perpetrated by Democrats and other critics. “PRESIDENTIAL HARASSMENT!” Trump said.
The disclosure comes as Democrats in Congress are pressing for access to a complete version of Mueller’s final report, including secret grand jury testimony that is expected to stripped out of the public report. Senior lawmakers have said that Barr’s decision to release onlya redacted version all but assures a prolonged fight in Congress over the investigation’s most sensitive contents.
The report becomes public:Here are six things to look for.
‘This is not justice’: Democrats accuse Barr of protecting Trump in rollout of Mueller report
Mueller’s investigation did not establish that Trump or members of his campaign conspired with Russia’s efforts to sway the election. But investigators pointedly opted not to make a determination about whether Trump had sought to obstruct their work, saying they had gathered evidence “on both sides” of that question, according to a four-page letter Barr provided to Congress last month summarizing the report’s conclusions.
Barr and Rosenstein told lawmakers that based on the evidence Mueller gathered, they did not believe Trump’s conduct violated obstruction laws.
Trump promptly claimed “complete and total exoneration.” Barr’s summary, however, said that while Mueller’s report does not conclude there was obstruction, it also “does not exonerate” the president on that issue. Republicans, nevertheless, seized on the no-conspiracy finding, along with Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsay Graham, R-S.C., calling it a “good day for the rule of law” and a “great day for President Trump and his team.”
House Democrats, who are conducting their own investigations of the president, responded to Barr’s summary by demanding a complete copy of Mueller’s report, criticizing Barr’s objectivity and calling for him to testify before Congress. House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., described Barr’s summary “a hasty, partisan interpretation of the facts.” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi characterized the attorney general’s summary as “arrogant” and “condescending.”
‘I intend to fight’: Congress prepares for a battle over secret grand jury evidence in Russia inquiry
Barr had long vowed to release the report, which is nearly 400 pages long, by mid-April. And since receiving the report from Mueller last month, Barr has said Justice officials, including members of Mueller’s team, have been working to remove secret grand-jury evidence, classified information, material related to ongoing investigations spun off from the special counsel’s probe and personal information about individuals who were not charged as part of the inquiry.
Contributing: David Jackson
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