White House

Trump, Meadows aim to discredit Mueller report before Thursday release

Timing of report’s release confirmed by Justice Department

Attorney General William Barr talks with his chief of staff, Brian Rabbitt, before his Senate subcommittee hearing last week on the Justice Department’s budget request for fiscal year 2020. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump and House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows are continuing to discredit the report by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III on Russian election meddling and obstruction of justice.

A redacted version of the long-anticipated report is expected to be released Thursday, the Justice Department confirmed Monday. The president and the North Carolina Republican took to Twitter, calling the probe a hoax and suggesting that Democrats will spin findings, no matter what the report says, in a way that looks bad for Trump.

“Thursday’s Mueller report should end the collusion delusion, once and for all,” Meadows tweeted. “But we already know Democrats will do what they’ve done for 2 years: spin anything possible to try and prop up a conspiracy that doesn’t exist. We know the bottom line. No collusion. It’s over.”

Five days ago, Trump said he no longer cared about Mueller’s findings —which Attorney General William Barr summarized to Congress in a four-page letter that Democrats have dubbed misleading and incomplete — because it “fully exonerated” him. 

Watch: Barr on Mueller memo: ‘The letter speaks for itself’

But the report does not exonerate Trump on whether he attempted to obstruct justice during Mueller’s investigation. 

“While this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him,” Mueller wrote in his report, according to Barr, who told senators last Wednesday to expect the public release of the redacted report “hopefully next week.

The attorney general has indicated that he would withhold certain information, including material related to grand juries and “information that would unduly infringe on the personal privacy and reputational interests of peripheral third parties.”

During Wednesday’s Senate Appropriations hearing, Barr said his redactions will not include the reputational interests of the president.

Trump, who was headed to Minnesota for an event on Monday, shot off a volley of tweets after news broke that the report would be released Thursday.

He said the Mueller report was “written by 18 Angry Democrats who also happen to be Trump Haters (and Clinton Supporters), should have focused on the people who SPIED on my 2016 Campaign, and others who fabricated the whole Russia Hoax. That is, never forget, the crime.”

John T. Bennett contributed to this report

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