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WASHINGTON — After two years of waiting, the Mueller report finally has a release date: this Thursday morning.
The report on President Donald Trump’s ties to Russia and possible obstruction of justice will be released to both Congress and the public, Department of Justice spokeswoman Kerri Kupec told VICE News on Monday.
Attorney General William Barr has said the version of the report released this week will be partly redacted, although Democrats have clamored for the right to not only read the full, unedited report but also to examine the evidence that special counsel Robert Mueller used to draft the document.
Mueller turned in his final report on March 22 to Barr, who has since worked to decide what parts of the report will ultimately be shared with the public.
In a four-page letter to Congress two days after he got Mueller's report, Barr said the report did not find that Trump or his campaign entered into a criminal conspiracy to collude with Russian agents to influence the 2016 election. He also said that Mueller stopped short of finding that Trump obstructed justice.
As a result, Barr weighed in on the question of obstruction, determining along with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein that the accumulated evidence did not amount to a crime.
Capitol Hill is now braced to find out how much of the report Barr will release, and what those details will reveal about Trump and his campaign.
After Barr released his letter summarizing Mueller's findings, Trump and his allies boasted that he’d been granted “total and complete exoneration,” even though one passage from the report explicitly quoted by Barr says it “does not exonerate” Trump.
Democrats in the House of Representatives, meanwhile, have voted to approve a subpoena for the full Mueller report but have held off on filing it for now. But they may be losing their patience: As the weeks have passed since Mueller first filed his report, Barr has faced mounting questions about his representation of the findings.
Members of Mueller’s team have reportedly grumbled to associates that Barr’s brief summary omitted damaging information contained in the full report, and that he opted to ignore pre-written summaries penned by the investigators that had been intended for quick release.
Barr, on the other hand, appears to have moved beyond Mueller’s findings and is now pursuing a new line of inquiry, telling Congress last week he plans to review the origins of Mueller’s investigation. Barr told Congress he believed the government had been “spying” on the Trump campaign, yet he provided no proof.
Democrats voiced alarm over Barr’s new project.
“Your testimony raises questions about your independence,” Democrats, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Charles Schumer, wrote in a letter to Barr on Thursday.
Barr’s plan to look into investigators’ activities “appears to perpetuate a partisan narrative designed to undermine the work of the special counsel, and serves to legitimize President Trump’s dangerous attacks on the Department of Justice and the FBI,” they wrote.
Cover: Then-FBI Director Robert Mueller testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, March 19, 2013, before multiple House subcommittees on the FBI's budget. (AP Photo/Molly Riley)