Trump legal team working to refine 140-page counter-report to Mueller findings

Trump legal team working to refine 140-page counter-report to Mueller findings

As Washington eagerly awaits the release of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report, President Trump’s team of lawyers is working feverishly to complete a counter-report to what Mueller’s redacted report might contain.

Trump’s team has been working on the counter-report for months, with news coming out last August that it would focus on whether the initiation of Mueller’s 22-month investigation was legitimate.

The counter report is now reportedly 140 pages long, but Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani said he hopes to shave it down to 50 pages by the time the Mueller report is released, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Since Attorney General William Barr’s four-page summary of the report said Mueller could not establish that members of the Trump campaign conspired with Russia, Giuliani said the bulk of the counter-report will likely focus on obstruction of justice claims, with much of its collusion material removed.

Since Mueller didn’t exonerate Trump on obstruction claims, Giuliani said he expects the report to show an internal debate within Mueller’s team about whether the president obstructed justice, a point that Trump’s team will actively dispute in the counter-report. Barr wrote in his summary that he and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein concluded there was insufficient evidence to establish obstruction.

Barr has signaled that the release of the report would come this week, confirming at a Senate hearing last Wednesday that the report would be released in the coming days.

“I’m landing the plane right now,” he said. “The report’s going to be out next week.”

How much of that report will be redacted remains a large question looming over Washington. Barr, Rosenstein, and Mueller’s team have been working to redact certain information from the lengthy report.

In a letter to the congressional judiciary committees, Barr said redactions would be made for grand jury material, material that could compromise “sources and methods” of the intelligence community, material that could affect other ongoing legal matters, and material that could cause privacy or reputational concerns to “peripheral third parties.” During testimony last week, Barr said the redactions will be color-coded by category so the public will know what type of information is being masked.

The House Judiciary Committee voted in favor of subpoenaing Barr to turn over the report in its entirety, although Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., said he would not issue a subpoena until it sees the redacted version of the report.

As they wait for the report’s release, congressional staffers are reportedly stocking up on whiskey and planning pizza orders in anticipation of a reading marathon for the 400-page document.

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