Trump attorneys and allies prepare for Mueller report release

Author: CBS News
President Donald Trump (left) and special counsel Robert S. Mueller III (right). Photo via CNN.

With a date for the release of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report set, President Trump’s attorneys and allies are armed with a public relations strategy.

Mr. Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani tells CBS News’ White House correspondent Paula Reid he is working on a counter-report to be released shortly after the redacted Mueller material is released. The president’s attorneys have promised such a rebuttal to Mueller’s nearly 400 page report for months.

The Justice Department says it will release a redacted version of Mueller’s report Thursday morning, giving a Washington on its toes some clarity about when the report might be released. Democrats are demanding an un-redacted version of the report, and are threatening to take that fight to court. So far, Congress and the public have only seen four pages of conclusions from the report as compiled by Attorney General William Barr.

On the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue, one GOP aide says their office is looking for details in the obstruction section of Mueller’s report that Democrats may try to “harp on.” GOP aides will play “devil’s advocate” as they comb through the report to know how best to respond to Democratic attacks.

“We really expect Democrats to harp on the redactions” to imply there was something “nefarious” or “damning” redacted, and try to respond to that, the GOP aide said.

Mr. Trump is already claiming the report exonerates him, even though Barr’s summary cites a part of Mueller’s report specifically indicating the report does not exonerate the commander-in-chief.

“No Collusion – No Obstruction!” the president tweeted Tuesday morning.

Mr. Trump’s staunchest allies in Congress have already been pushing that message since Barr’s summary — if not sooner — and some are calling for the Justice Department to investigate the origins of the Mueller report. Barr himself has already told Congress he will look into those origins.

“I think spying did occur,” the attorney general said during congressional testimony in a claim that quickly caught fire.

Mr. Trump is scheduled to meet with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and participate in a Wounded Warrior Project Soldier Ride the day Barr is expected to release Mueller’s redacted report.

Barr has offered to testify about the report in early May.

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