ABC News and The New York Times report that White House officials have already been briefed on special counsel Robert Mueller’s highly anticipated report, which is expected to be made public on Thursday.
The news reports suggest the Justice Department gave the White House advance notice about the conclusions of the special counsel’s report on the Trump campaign and Russian interference in the 2016 election.
ABC News reported that the White House received a “broad briefing” on the 400-page report that focused mostly on the “mechanics of the report itself.”
Trump’s advisers are concerned the report will reveal instances of possible obstruction of justice that aren’t already public, according to ABC News, which cited unnamed White House officials and sources close to the administration.
According to the Times, Justice Department officials spoke with White House lawyers about the conclusions of Mueller’s investigation, though it is unclear what specific details they shared with the White House.
President Donald Trump’s advisers insisted to the Times that they did not know many details of Mueller’s conclusions.
Democrats in Congress have demanded to see the full report since Attorney General William Barr summarized it for Congress in a four-page letter in March.
In the letter, Barr said Mueller’s team did not establish that there was a conspiracy between Trump or his campaign and the Russian government in the 2016 election. Barr also said the report did not reach a conclusion on whether Trump had obstructed justice.
“I’m deeply troubled by reports that the WH is being briefed on the Mueller report AHEAD of its release,” Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) tweeted Wednesday. “Now, DOJ is informing us we will not receive the report until around 11/12 tomorrow afternoon — AFTER Barr’s press conference. This is wrong.”
Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) responded to the reports by saying Barr was “presiding over a dog and pony show.”
The suspicion surrounding the White House’s conversations with the Justice Department ahead of the report’s release recalls a moment between former President Bill Clinton and then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch in June 2016, while Hillary Clinton and Trump were campaigning for the presidency.
The former president’s plane happened to land on the same tarmac in Phoenix as Lynch’s, and the two had a conversation in Lynch’s plane. The encounter took place as the Justice Department was investigating Hillary Clinton’s email server. Outraged Republicans said the meeting was cause for Lynch to recuse herself from the email probe.
The Justice Department will not deliver a redacted version of Mueller’s 400-page report to Congress until after Barr’s press conference about it, expected at 9:30 a.m. on Thursday.