In a 20-minute Thursday press conference that amounted to an infomercial for President Trump’s innocence, Attorney General Bill Barr confirmed that both Trump’s own lawyers and the White House got to review the redacted Mueller report in advance.
This was “consistent with longstanding practice,” Barr repeatedly said during his unprecedented appearance. The Justice Department granted the White House the opportunity to read through the special counsel’s final report in case Trump wanted to make any claims of executive privilege.
“Because the White House had voluntarily cooperated with the special counsel, significant portions of the report contain material over which the President could have asserted privilege, and he would have been well within his rights to do so,” Barr said, again using language that seemed overtly defensive of Trump.
According to Barr, the White House counsel reached out asking for the opportunity to review the redacted report, and he granted it.
Ultimately, in Barr’s words, “the President confirmed that in the interests of transparency and full disclosure to the American people, he would not assert privilege over the special counsel’s report.”
Barr also divulged that Trump’s own personal attorneys were granted the opportunity to read a final version of the redacted report earlier this week.
“That request was consistent with the practice following under the ethics in government act which permitted individuals named in a report prepared by an independent counsel the opportunity to read the report before publication,” Barr said. “The president’s personal lawyers were not permitted to make and did not request any redactions.”