What you won't see in the Mueller report

Dana Milbank It’s the season for treason according to Trump

On Thursday, nearly two years after the special counsel investigation headed by Robert Mueller was launched, the Department of Justice will publish Mueller's much-anticipated report - with redactions, of course, to protect classified material and raw grand-jury testimony.

The Justice Department announced Monday that it expects to release the redacted version Thursday morning, sending the findings of the almost two-year probe to Congress and making them available to the public.

But the sprawling nature of the 22-month investigation is fueling concerns. "They got asked questions and told the truth", one unnamed official told NBC, "and now they're anxious the wrath will follow". "You put hundreds of witnesses under oath and you throw all these subpoenas around - if there's nothing controversial or embarrassing that's disclosed, that would be kind of surprising".

Robert Mueller, left, and Donald Trump. Congressional Democrats cite precedent from previous investigations in saying they want to see it all.

It's that choice that now stands to face the most intense scrutiny, and it seems likely the investigative report will have a pro-con list of actions and declarations that could arguably have justified charging the president.

Indeed, all of Washington will be studying the report.

According to the network news some are particularly concerned about how Trump - and his allies, will deal with them.

Democrats have noted that the Justice Department has released such information before, including some related to Mueller's own investigation while it was in progress. The department has refused to offer any solace. "You have a whole bunch of former White House officials and current White House officials, but especially former White House officials, who were told to cooperate", one ex-staffer said.

Mr. Trump, meanwhile, has maintained a consistent line.

The report is expected in the morning, igniting a day of study and reaction. Does the report support Trump's total exoneration and make the original Federal Bureau of Investigation counterintelligence probe look like a "witch hunt"? BookMaker.eu put the over-under at 1.5 times.

My guess is that the reason this release has taken so long is not because the redaction process really required that much time, but rather there was great care taken to strategically decide how many redactions they could plausibly get away with, and which damaging tidbits are most worth keeping hidden from the public for as long as possible.

Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee New York Representative Jerrold Nadler said he was prepared to issue subpoenas "very quickly" for the full report on Russian Federation and Donald Trump's presidential campaign if it was released with blacked-out sections.

"It just may be a bad news cycle", the source said. Jerry Nadler of NY, is poised to try to compel Barr to turn over an unredacted copy as well as the report's underlying investigative files. The report could provide new information that could prompt further investigations or even consideration of impeachment proceedings, a tricky political calculation since Mueller did not conclude there was collusion or obstruction. Under this scenario, Barr's rollout is all very cynically planned so as to take all the air out of report, while making those demanding full disclosure look desperate, crazed, and out-of-touch with public sentiment. So a Thursday afternoon mini-press conference with reporters and Trump shouting over the executive helicopter could provide the administration's first substantive response to potentially damaging Mueller findings.

Mr. Trump, meanwhile, is trying to keep the public focused on Mr. Mueller's bigger conclusion that there was no criminal conspiracy with Russian Federation - undercutting the narrative that launched the lengthy investigation.



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