AG William Barr to hold news conference Thursday on special counsel Robert Mueller’s report

WASHINGTON – Attorney General William Barr and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein will hold news conference Thursday to discuss Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller’s report, according to a Justice spokeswoman Kerri Kupec.

Barr had previously said he would release the long-awaited report on Thursday. The news conference will be at 9:30 a.m., Kupec said.

President Donald Trump, who has claimed “total exoneration” from a summary of the report, said Wednesday he may hold a news conference as well. He is scheduled to leave for a three-day weekend in South Florida by mid-afternoon Thursday, but he may speak with reporters upon departure.

“You’ll see a lot of strong things come out tomorrow,” Trump told WMAL radio’s Larry O’Connor show. “Attorney General Barr is going to be doing a press conference. Maybe I’ll do one after that, we’ll see.”

 Kupec said Wednesday that the White House had no role in scheduling Thursday’s briefing.

“It was the Department of Justice’s decision to do the press conference,” she said.

The 400-page document, anticipated since last month when the attorney general disclosed a bare-bones summary of its major conclusions, will be transmitted to Congress and made public at roughly the same time. Barr said he will keep parts of the report secret.

For weeks, Democrats demanded that Barr make the full, unredacted report public while Trump seized on its major conclusions to declare “complete vindication.”

Trump has repeatedly criticized the Mueller probe as a “hoax” and a “witch hunt.”

Mueller report: What will it say about Russia’s efforts to sway the 2016 election?

Trump perils: President faces swirl of investigations even after end of Mueller probe

President Donald Trump (Photo: John Locher, AP)

The long-anticipated report is the culmination of a remarkable inquiry into whether the president’s aides collaborated with the Russian government’s efforts to sway the election in his favor. That investigation plumbed deeply into Trump’s campaign and his administration, and while prosecutors concluded that nothing they unearthed constitutes a crime, the accumulation of evidence the government is set to release could subject Trump to further scrutiny. 

Mueller’s investigation did not establish that Trump or members of his campaign conspired with Russia’s efforts to sway the election. But investigators pointedly opted not to make a determination about whether Trump had sought to obstruct their work, saying they had gathered evidence “on both sides” of that question, according to a four-page letter Barr provided to Congress last month summarizing the report’s conclusions. 

Barr and Rosenstein told lawmakers that based on the evidence Mueller gathered, they did not believe Trump’s conduct violated obstruction laws. 

Trump promptly claimed “complete and total exoneration.” Barr’s summary, however,  said that while Mueller’s report does not conclude there was obstruction, it also “does not exonerate” the president on that issue. 

Democrats in Congress are pressing for access to a complete version of Mueller’s final report, including secret grand jury testimony that is expected to stripped out of the public report. Senior lawmakers have said that Barr’s decision to release only a redacted version all but assures a prolonged fight in Congress over the investigation’s most sensitive contents, including those that did not lead to criminal charges.

Barr has said Justice officials, including members of Mueller’s team, have been working to remove secret grand-jury evidence, classified information, material related to ongoing investigations spun off from the special counsel’s probe and personal information about individuals who were not charged as part of the inquiry.

On Wednesday, federal prosecutors told a District of Columbia judge overseeing the criminal case against former Trump adviser Roger Stone that they have removed material from the Mueller report regarding Stone so has not to interfere with the pending proceedings in which the flamboyant Republican political operative is charged with obstruction and lying to Mueller’s investigators.

After the redacted Mueller report is made public, prosecutors said that they would provide a “limited” number of lawmakers with a version of the report that includes the material related to the Stone case, according to court documents file Wednesday.

More on Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller’s report:

Mueller report: Investigation found no evidence Trump conspired with Russia, leaves obstruction question open

Trump claims ‘total exoneration’ from Mueller summary despite lack of answers on obstruction

Mueller report: Criminal investigation moves to political realm as Barr summarizes for Congress

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