In this April 6, 2019, photo, President Donald Trump speaks at an annual meeting of the Republican Jewish Coalition in Las Vegas. Trump took a victory lap after special counsel Robert Mueller concluded his Russia investigation, but it may have been premature. The scramble to frame the investigation’s findings in the best political light is sure to be renewed in coming days when Mueller’s report is expected to be released in redacted form. (AP Photo/John Locher)

Trump renews Mueller attacks as Russia report release looms

Mueller’s report is expected to be released in redacted form in the coming days

President Donald Trump took a victory lap after special counsel Robert Mueller concluded his Russia investigation. It may have been premature.

The scramble to frame the investigation’s findings in the best political light is sure to be renewed in coming days when Mueller’s report is expected to be released in redacted form. Now that the American public will get a look at details beyond the four-page investigation summary written by Attorney General William Barr, some Trump allies are concerned that the president was too quick to declare complete triumph and they’re pushing the White House to launch a pre-emptive attack.

Trump seems to be of the same mind.

“The Democrats will never be satisfied, no matter what they get, how much they get, or how many pages they get,” Trump tweeted Monday, two days after he blasted “Bob Mueller’s team of 13 Trump Haters & Angry Democrats.”

With the goal to discredit what’s coming, Trump and his allies have unleashed a series of broadsides against Mueller’s team and the Democrats pushing for full release of the final report. No longer is the president agreeing that Mueller acted honourably, as he did the day after the special counsel’s conclusions were released. Instead, he’s joining his allies in trying to undermine the integrity of the investigators and the credibility of their probe.

“You’re darn right I’m going after them again,” Rudy Giuliani, one of Trump’s attorneys, told The Associated Press. “I never thought they did their job in a professional manner. … Only because there is overwhelming evidence that the president didn’t do anything wrong, they were forced to admit they couldn’t find anything on him. They sure tried.”

After Washington waited nearly two years for Mueller to conduct his investigation, Barr released a letter last month stating that the special counsel found no evidence the Trump campaign “conspired or co-ordinated” with the Russian government to influence the 2016 election. Moreover, while Mueller did not reach a conclusion as to whether Trump obstructed justice, Barr and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein determined that the president did not.

Mueller’s team, which was barely quoted in Barr’s letter, has made clear that it did not exonerate the president. And Democrats immediately called for Mueller to testify and for his entire 400-page report to be released.

That didn’t stop the president’s allies from declaring victory.

They falsely claimed Mueller had exonerated Trump, painted House Democrats’ investigations as partisan overreach and planned to target news outlets and individual reporters they believe promoted the collusion story. The president himself seethed at a Michigan rally that the whole thing was an attempt “to tear up the fabric of our great democracy.”

While the president unleashed his personal grievances, his team seized on any exculpatory information in Barr’s letter, hoping to swiftly define the conversation, according to six White House officials and outside advisers who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly discuss private deliberations.

Those officials and advisers acknowledged that the victory lap was deliberately premature.

Trump’s inner circle knows there will likely be further releases of embarrassing or politically damaging information. Barr’s letter, for instance, hinted that there would be at least one unknown action by the president that Mueller examined as a possible act of obstruction. A number of White House aides have privately said they are eager for Russia stories, good or bad, to fade from the headlines. And there is fear among some presidential confidants that the rush to spike the football could backfire if bombshell new information emerged.

“I think they did what they had to do. Regardless of what Barr reported, they needed to claim vindication,” said Republican strategist Alex Conant, who worked on Sen. Marco Rubio’s 2016 presidential campaign. “First impressions are important. And the first impression of the Mueller report was very good for Trump.”

Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, suggested the full report may raise new questions for Trump but would not contain anything that would threaten the presidency.

“I personally believe not all of it is going to be great for the White House,” Burr said. He added that he didn’t know what’s in the Mueller report, “but there are going to be things that maybe cause some people to say, ‘Oh, gosh, I didn’t know that existed.’ Now, does it reach a threshold? Apparently not.”

Trump’s GOP allies in Congress are also hedging their bets by continuing to cast doubt on the origins of Mueller’s investigation.

The top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, California Rep. Devin Nunes, told Fox News on Sunday that he was sending eight criminal referrals to the Justice Department, apparently linked to investigations he started in the last Congress about the beginnings of the Russia probe.

The host of the Fox News program, Maria Bartiromo, told Nunes that he “ought to be taking a victory lap here” after Barr’s memo said there was no evidence of Russian collusion. But, in a signal that Trump’s allies planned to remain on the offensive, Nunes responded: “There’s no really time for victory laps because people have to be held accountable for this nonsense that happened.”

READ MORE: Trump drops border shutdown threat and proposes auto tariffs

READ MORE: Democrats intensify demand for Robert Mueller’s full report

___

Lemire reported from New York. Associated Press writers Catherine Lucey and Lisa Mascaro contributed to this report from Washington.

___

Jonathan Lemire, Zeke Miller And Mary Clare Jalonick, The Associated Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Police make arrest after report of a man brandishing a gun at Campbell River-area lake

43-year-old man from the Comox area has since been charged with multiple offences

Campbell River’s Brind’Amour reflects on year one as NHL coach

Hurricane legend speaks about the season, the Storm Surge and life in Carolina

Georgia Park students keeping their heads up after another case of vandalism

Bird and bee houses torn off the trees and smashed, but the kids bounced back and put more up

Brind’Amour/Nugent-Hopkins golf tourney in Campbell River raises $122,000

Fundraiser for cystic fibrosis has raised roughly $1.8 million since it started 24 years ago

Elusive ‘ghost whale’ surfaces near Campbell River

Local ecotourism operator captures images of the rare white orca

VIDEO: Firefighters stop blaze from spreading after BMW crashes at Saratoga Speedway

Victoria-based businessmen were ‘corner training’ on Father’s Day when incident took place

MPs hear retired B.C. nurse’s petition to change compensation for fatal medical errors

Teri McGrath wants provinces to implement no-fault system for medical errors

Horgan says he’ll still defend B.C. coast after second Trans Mountain approval

Meanwhile, one B.C. First Nation has announced plans for a legal challenge

Demonstrators on either side of Trans Mountain debate clash in Vancouver

Crowd heard from member of Indigenous-led coalition that hopes to buy 51% of expansion project

Grieving B.C. mom hopes Facebook message leads to new investigation into son’s Surrey homicide

Criminal Justice Branch didn’t lay charges, concluding no substantial likelihood of murder or manslaughter conviction

Ginger Goodwin’s Cumberland cemetery grave desecrated

Just days before the Miners Memorial weekend, Ginger Goodwin’s grave has been… Continue reading

B.C.’s measles vaccination program gains traction in May

More than 15,000 doses of the MMR vaccine has been administered across the province

B.C. farmers concerned Agricultural Land Reserve changes choking their livelihood

Dozens voice concerns at special meeting hosted on Vancouver Island

UPDATE: Two-year-old involved in Chilliwack pool drowning has died

Toddler was reported to not be breathing as air ambulance called out Thursday afternoon

Most Read