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

05 April, 2019, 04:18 | Author: Trevor Moore
  • Attorney General William Barr at the

The Times reports that special counsel members believe that Barr should have included more detail in the four-page summary, which announced that Mueller did not find that Trump had colluded with Russian Federation in the 2016 election, although he explicitly did not exonerate Trump.

Mr Nadler, a Democrat, called on Mr Barr to immediately release summaries of the document prepared by Mr Mueller's team.

After the long-awaited arrival of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's final report for the Russian Federation investigation and a letter from Attorney General William Barr summarizing some of its key findings, President Donald Trump responded with a celebratory March 24 tweet saying, "No Collusion, No Obstruction, Complete and Total EXONERATION".

Mr Barr told the committee in a letter last week that a redacted version of the full 300-page report would be released by mid-April, "if not sooner", after his office completed a process that would keep sensitive information private.

But news media reports said that members of Mueller's team were unhappy with the way Barr had characterized its main conclusions in his four-page summary.

In Mueller's case, the special counsel declined to "draw a conclusion" on whether the evidence he gathered warranted obstruction-of-justice charges against Trump, which "leaves it to the Attorney General" to decide, Barr said in his letter two weeks ago. The Mueller team laid out evidence on both sides of the question in a way that neither alleged a crime nor exonerated Trump, according to Barr's letter from last month.

Last month, before Mr. Mueller submitted his report to the attorney general, the House voted nearly unanimously to release the full report to Congress and to release all of the report to the public except those parts that are "prohibited by law". Nadler said he will give Barr time to change his mind on redactions, but if they can not reach an agreement they will issue the subpoenas "in very short order". And this is the reason we got these back-to-back reports-Barr even tried to tamp down the initial NYT story within that story, so Mueller's team went to the Post to be unmistakably clear.

President Donald Trump speaks as NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg looks on at the White House
President Donald Trump speaks as NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg looks on at the White House

Some investigators are also concerned that Barr's review of the report has already shaped the public's perception of the probe before the full report has been released. The panel's chairman was able to make the request because of a 1924 law that gives the chairmen of the House Ways and Means Committee and the Senate Finance Committee broad powers to request and receive the tax returns of any American.

Mr. Barr was also wary of departing from Justice Department practice not to disclose derogatory details in closing an investigation, according to two government officials familiar with Mr. Barr's thinking. He is now expected to release the entire report, with some redactions, by mid-April.

He also asked Mr Barr to hand over communications between the special counsel's team and the department about the report.

"The New York Times had no legitimate sources, which would be totally illegal, concerning the Mueller Report".

The demand could set up a constitutional showdown over whether the House has a right to demand normally secret grand jury materials that could hurt the president.

Mr Mueller spent almost two years investigating allegations of Russian meddling to help Mr Trump defeat his Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton.

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