Barr plans to issue Mueller report details within weeks

By Sarah N.

Reuters March 27, 2019 05:06:15 IST
Barr plans to issue Mueller report details within weeks

Barr plans to issue Mueller report details within weeks

By Sarah N. Lynch and Susan Cornwell

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Attorney General William Barr plans to issue in a matter of weeks a public version of the special counsel's report that found President Donald Trump's 2016 campaign team did not conspire with Russia, as Trump prepared to use the findings against his political opponents.

Democrats attempted to change the subject to healthcare after the report from Robert Mueller appeared to shatter their case that Trump was an illegitimately elected president.

A new Reuters/Ipsos poll found that 48 percent of Americans still believed Trump worked with Russia to interfere in the 2016 presidential election, down 6 points since conclusions from the Mueller report came out on Sunday.

The poll found Trump's job approval rating had ticked up 4 points to 43 percent following release of the findings. There was a thirst for more information, as 57 percent of Americans said they wanted to see the entire report.

Barr released his own summary of the report's central findings on Sunday but said he needed more time to review the report to determine how much of it could be made public.

A Justice Department official said on Tuesday that Barr's plan was to release a public version in "weeks, not months." Congressional Democrats have demanded Barr turn over the report to them by April 2, which would only leave a week for the Justice Department to complete its review.

The Justice official said there was no plan to share an advance copy of the report with the White House.

Some portions of Mueller's confidential report contain materials that arose during secret grand jury proceedings. Federal rules generally prohibit the government from releasing that information to the public.

The report also contains information about ongoing criminal investigations that Mueller referred to other U.S. attorneys' offices.

Barr has not yet revealed a precise date for when the final public version might be ready.

The Justice Department has not commented on the Democrats' request that it be released to Congress by next week.

Trump and his top aides attacked unidentified political opponents for starting the campaign investigation, calling the actions treasonous and worth probing.

"I think what happened was a disgrace," Trump told reporters on a visit to the U.S. Capitol, where he had lunch with Republican senators.

Republicans also were out for retribution, with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell saying he supported a push for an inquiry into potential missteps by law enforcement officials in their probe of Trump.

Senator Chuck Schumer, leader of the Democratic minority in the Senate, leaped on a court filing from the Justice Department that said the entire Obamacare healthcare law - the signature legislative accomplishment of Democratic President Barack Obama - should be struck down in the courts.

The law provides healthcare coverage for an estimated 20 million people, and Trump and his Republican allies, who see it as government overreach, have failed to replace it despite vows to do so.

"It is a stark reminder of the difference between our two parties: Democrats are fighting to expand and improve healthcare coverage and lower costs while Republicans are trying to take it all away and raise costs," Schumer said on the Senate floor.

Republicans said during their lunch with Trump they discussed ways to improve the healthcare system.

TRUMP CAMPAIGN FUNDRAISING

Trump's re-election campaign launched fundraising drives in the aftermath of the Mueller report. "Democrats allowed this WITCH HUNT to go on for 2 YEARS. It’s time to show them we’re tired of their PARTISAN investigations," said one fundraising appeal.

Trump suggested he had been the victim of a smear campaign launched by senior officials in the Obama administration.

"It went very high up, and it started fairly low, but with instructions from the high-up," Trump told reporters, without offering details. "This should never happen to a president again."

Trump advisers were predicting he would go on the offensive at a rally in Grand Rapids, Michigan, on Thursday night, his first major appearance since the Mueller investigation concluded.

"We reserve the right to remind the American people that the Democrats have tried for two years, by lying to the American people, to overturn the election results of 2016," a senior Trump campaign official said. "And they don’t get to just turn the page and say: 'Never mind."

(Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch, Susan Cornwell, Chris Kahn and Steve Holland; Additional reporting by Alexandra Alper, Richard Cowan and David Morgan; Editing by Bill Trott and Peter Cooney)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

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