Trump Lays Down Cover Fire Before Release Of Mueller Report

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images North America

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.”

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