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 has been told it will not get the Mueller report from DOJ until 11 a.m. or noon—after Barr’s press conference scheduled for 9:30 a.m.
“They are making Al Capone look straight,” one committee member told The Daily Beast.
House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler ripped Barr’s plan to speak about the report before lawmakers, the media and public have a chance to review it.
“Rather than letting the facts of the report speak for themselves, the attorney general has taken unprecedented steps to spin Mueller’s nearly two-year investigation,” Nadler said at a press conference on Wednesday night.
“The Attorney General appears to be waging a media campaign on behalf of President Trump, the very subject of the investigation at the heart of the Mueller report,” he added.
If the report is heavily redacted, Nadler said, “we will most certainly issue the subpoenas in very short order.” He said they “will probably find it useful” to ask Mueller and members of his team to testify.
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.”
A Justice Department official briefed on the report told The Daily Beast that “it will give the White House some heartburn” but won’t be as dramatic as some people expect.
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 and Betsy Woodruff