Trump Lays Down Cover Fire Before Release Of Mueller Report

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 20: U.S. President Donald Trump talks with journalists before departing the White House March 20, 2019 in Washington, DC. Trump is traveling to Ohio where he will visit a tank manufacturer and ... WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 20: U.S. President Donald Trump talks with journalists before departing the White House March 20, 2019 in Washington, DC. Trump is traveling to Ohio where he will visit a tank manufacturer and participate in a fundraiser. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images) MORE LESS

President Donald Trump on Wednesday attacked senior Justice Department officials and former Attorney General Jeff Sessions in an apparent attempt to undermine the credibility of special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe.

Mueller was appointed by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who made that call because then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions had recused himself from matters related to Russia and election interference.

“I just won one of the greatest elections of all time in the history of this country — and even you will admit that — and now I have somebody writing a report that never got a vote?” Trump complained to reporters outside the White House.

The President said earlier in his response that Sessions “didn’t have the courage to do it himself.”

In fact, Sessions recused himself months before Mueller’s appointment after revelations that he met twice with Russia’s ambassador to the United States during the 2016 campaign and subsequently failed to disclose the meetings as attorney general, when asked about contacts with Russians during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing.

Trump on Wednesday referred to Rosenstein as “a deputy” who was “appointed,” and who then “appoint[ed] another man to write a report.”

“Explain that, because my voters don’t get it, and I don’t get it,” he added.

Trump, of course, nominated Rosenstein, who was confirmed by the Republican-controlled Senate in a 94-6 vote.

Trump also changed his tune again Wednesday on whether Mueller’s report should be public, this time saying “I don’t mind” the American public seeing the report, subject to Attorney General William Barr’s discretion.

Recently, Trump said there ought not be any report at all, and incorrectly called Mueller’s investigation illegal. And just after that, he told Republicans in Congress to go along with a non-binding resolution asserting that the report should be made public. That resolution passed with unanimous support in the House of Representatives; Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) blocked a vote on it in the Senate.

“Let it come out,” Trump said Wednesday. “Let the people see it. That’s up to the attorney general.”

Dear Reader,

When we asked recently what makes TPM different from other outlets, readers cited factors like honesty, curiosity, transparency, and our vibrant community. They also pointed to our ability to report on important stories and trends long before they are picked up by mainstream outlets; our ability to contextualize information within the arc of history; and our focus on the real-world consequences of the news.

Our unique approach to reporting and presenting the news, however, wouldn’t be possible without our readers’ support. That’s not just marketing speak, it’s true: our work would literally not be possible without readers deciding to become members. Not only does member support account for more than 80% of TPM’s revenue, our members have helped us build an engaged and informed community. Many of our best stories were born from reader tips and valuable member feedback.

We do what other news outlets can’t or won’t do because our members’ support gives us real independence.

If you enjoy reading TPM and value what we do, become a member today.

Sincerely,
TPM Staff
Latest News
Comments
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Associate Editor:
Investigations Desk:
Reporters:
Newswriters:
Director of Audience:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Publisher:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front End Developer:
Senior Designer: