Trump braces for re­lease of redacted Mueller re­port

The Tribune (SLO) - - Front Page - BY MICHAEL BAL­SAMO AND JONATHAN LEMIRE

The pres­i­dent isn’t wait­ing. As Wash­ing­ton counts down the fi­nal hours un­til pub­li­ca­tion of the redacted spe­cial coun­sel re­port – now ex­pected Thurs­day – Don­ald Trump and his le­gal team stepped up their at­tacks in an ef­fort to un­der­mine po­ten­tial dis­clo­sures on Rus­sia, his 2016 cam­paign and the af­ter­math.

On Tues­day, Rudy Gi­u­liani, one of the pres­i­dent’s at­tor­neys, said that the pres­i­dent’s le­gal team was putting the fin­ish­ing touches on a re­but­tal. Their doc­u­ment will be dozens of pages long and it will be re­leased just hours af­ter the Jus­tice De­part­ment re­leases its redacted ver­sion of spe­cial coun­sel Robert Mueller’s re­port, Gi­u­liani said.

Trump un­leashed a se­ries of tweets Mon­day fo­cus­ing on the pre­vi­ously re­leased sum­mary of Mueller’s con­clu­sions – in­clud­ing a cru­cial one on ob­struc­tion of jus­tice that Trump again mis­rep­re­sented – pro­duced by At­tor­ney Gen­eral Wil­liam Barr.

“Mueller, and the A.G. based on Mueller find­ings (and great in­tel­li­gence), have al­ready ruled No Col­lu­sion, No Ob­struc­tion,” Trump tweeted. “These were crimes com­mit­ted by Crooked Hil­lary, the DNC, Dirty Cops and oth­ers! IN­VES­TI­GATE THE IN­VES­TI­GA­TORS!”

Press sec­re­tary Sarah San­ders re­peat­edly tried to make the same case on TV talk shows on Sun­day. But the po­lit­i­cal bat­tle is far from fin­ished over the spe­cial coun­sel’s in­ves­ti­ga­tion of Rus­sian ef­forts to help Trump in 2016 and whether there was co­op­er­a­tion with his cam­paign.

Democrats are call­ing for Mueller him­self to tes­tify be­fore Congress and have ex­pressed con­cern that Barr will or­der un­nec­es­sary cen­sor­ing of the re­port to pro­tect the pres­i­dent. The House Ju­di­ciary Com­mit­tee, led by Rep. Jerry Nadler of New York, is poised to try to com­pel Barr to turn over an unredacted copy as well as the re­port’s un­der­ly­ing in­ves­tiga­tive files.

Trump and his al­lies con­tinue to at­tack the ori­gins of the Rus­sia in­ves­ti­ga­tion, por­tray­ing it as an ef­fort by Democrats and ca­reer of­fi­cials in the Jus­tice De­part­ment to bring him down.

“Any as­pect of that re­port, I hope it does come out be­cause there was no col­lu­sion, what­so­ever, no col­lu­sion,” Trump told Min­neapo­lis TV sta­tion KSTP while there on Mon­day. “It was a big con job and every­body knows it. …The crime was com­mit­ted by the other side.”

The Jus­tice De­part­ment an­nounced Mon­day that it ex­pects to re­lease the redacted ver­sion Thurs­day morn­ing, send­ing the find­ings of the nearly two-year

probe to Congress and mak­ing them avail­able to the pub­lic.

Por­tions of the re­port be­ing re­leased by the Jus­tice De­part­ment will be redacted to pro­tect grand jury ma­te­rial, sen­si­tive in­tel­li­gence, mat­ters that could af­fect on­go­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tions and dam­age to the pri­vacy rights of third par­ties, the at­tor­ney gen­eral has said.

A look at what types of ma­te­rial Barr is redact­ing: Grand jury in­for­ma­tion: Barr has staked out his po­si­tion on re­leas­ing se­cret grand jury in­for­ma­tion, say­ing last week that he would not go to court to re­quest its re­lease. He said Democrats are “free to go to court” them­selves.

Clas­si­fied in­for­ma­tion: Congress fre­quently re­ceives clas­si­fied doc­u­ments and brief­ings, and Democrats say there is no rea­son the Mueller re­port should be any dif­fer­ent.

Many Repub­li­cans agree, in­clud­ing the top Repub­li­can on the in­tel­li­gence com­mit­tee, Cal­i­for­nia Rep. Devin Nunes, who wrote a rare joint let­ter in March with House in­tel­li­gence com­mit­tee Chair­man Adam Schiff ask­ing for “all ma­te­ri­als, re­gard­less of form or clas­si­fi­ca­tion.” In the let­ter, which was ob­tained by The As­so­ci­ated Press, Schiff and Nunes also asked for a pri­vate brief­ing from Mueller and his team.

On­go­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tions: Barr said he will redact in­for­ma­tion re­lated to in­ves­ti­ga­tions con­nected to the Mueller probe that are still un­der­way. Those in­clude cases handed off or re­ferred to fed­eral prose­cu­tors in Wash­ing­ton, New York and Vir­ginia. Deroga­tory in­for­ma­tion: The Jus­tice De­part­ment reg­u­larly redacts in­for­ma­tion about peo­ple who were in­ter­viewed or scru­ti­nized in in­ves­ti­ga­tions but not charged. Barr has said he will black out in­for­ma­tion from the re­port “that would unduly in­fringe on the per­sonal pri­vacy and rep­u­ta­tional in­ter­ests of pe­riph­eral third par­ties.”

Asked by Sen. Jeanne Sha­heen, D-N.H., at a hear­ing last week if that meant he would redact in­for­ma­tion to pro­tect the in­ter­ests of Trump, Barr said it did not. “No, I’m talk­ing about peo­ple in pri­vate life, not pub­lic of­fice­hold­ers,” Barr said.

That means that in ad­di­tion to Trump, mem­bers of his fam­ily who work at the White House could po­ten­tially be named if they were some­how en­tan­gled in Mueller’s in­ves­ti­ga­tion. But any in­for­ma­tion re­gard­ing his sons who run his busi­nesses could be more likely to be redacted.

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