But signs are increasing that the White House isn’t so sure they want us to see it.
President Trump suggested Friday, for what appears to be the first time, that there should be no Mueller report.
After running through a series of highly questionable allegations about the origins of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s probe, Trump concluded, “then the Special Counsel … should never have been appointed and there should be no Mueller Report. This was an illegal & conflicted investigation in search of a crime.”
Trump doesn’t technically say the Mueller report shouldn’t be released; he instead says the report should never have been written in the first place because the investigation wasn’t warranted. But it’s not difficult to connect the dots. Trump has demurred when asked whether the report should be released publicly, saying simply that it will be up to Attorney General William P. Barr. And given the House’s vote Thursday, Trump’s tweets are difficult to separate from the prospect of a publicly released Mueller report.
The White House has also sent signals that it may not be terribly sorry to see the report buried. White House counselor Kellyanne Conway appeared on CNN last month and echoed Trump, declining to say the report should be public:
CHRIS CUOMO: When that probe comes out, Kellyanne, I’ll give you guys as much time as you want to discuss its findings. I believe it’s critical to the American people. The offer will always stand.
CONWAY: Great. Let’s see if there’s a report to even discuss.
CUOMO: Well, that’s up to you guys.
CUOMO: Forget about the Democrats. Focus on the facts. That report should be made public and I hope you agree with that and I hope the President does as well. He should want it more than anybody.
CONWAY: That’s up to — that’s up to Director Mueller — that’s up to Mr. Mueller.
CUOMO: No, it’s not. No it’s not.
(It’s actually not up to Mueller, but rather Barr.)
Trump Jr. has broken with that line, telling the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) two weeks ago, “I’ve been saying it for a while: Just put it all out there. Put it all out there. How about don’t redact anything?”
But the White House hasn’t joined with Trump Jr. or the 190 House Republicans who voted Thursday to release the report publicly, which is conspicuous. It’s also conspicuous that Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), a top Trump ally, is now blocking the Senate from taking up the resolution, even though it’s not binding. House Republicans had to vote on the bill, given Democrats control the House and brought it up. But apparently Graham does not want a second chamber of Congress to deliver another overwhelming verdict in favor of releasing the Mueller report.
And Trump’s support here matters. Barr’s reasons for not disclosing details of the Mueller report generally have to do with not tarring the name of people who haven’t been charged with crimes. If Trump just gives him the go-ahead, that mitigates the problem. It would also give Congress the green light to try and do something more binding.
Trump’s tweets Thursday — on top of his and the White Houses’s comments on this topic — suggest they’re not all that keen on that.