After the “Trump colluded with Russia” narrative went bust following the special counsel concluding its investigation without recommending further indictments, the media needed to pivot. They decided to echo Democrat concerns that the full report must include some evidence against Trump and needs to be released – and insinuating that President Donald Trump would block it from public view.
But Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-SC) told CNN host Kate Bolduan Wednesday evening that, after talking to the president, there would be no use of executive privilege to hide the report, leading to the following exchange:
Bolduan: You said last night in an interview that you spoke to the president. Has he given you any assurance that he will not be invoking executive privilege?
Graham: He just said, “just release it.”
Bolduan: So, there will be no – executive privilege is off the table.
Graham: As far as I know, that’s what they said yesterday.
Bolduan then asked if White House lawyers would see the report before it was released to the public. Graham said he didn’t think so, since they weren’t invoking executive privilege.
“The president said, ‘release it,'” Graham reiterated. “He reinforced that last night that, you know, just release it.”
CNN reported earlier this month that “multiple sources familiar with the matter” claimed the White House expected to see Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report before it’s provided to congressmen and the American public. Based on what Graham said, it appears that, once again, CNN’s anonymous sources were wrong.
A Justice department official reportedly told CNN that it should take “weeks, not months” for Attorney General William Barr to create a version of the Mueller report that does not contain grand jury material or classified intelligence information. Graham met with Barr Tuesday night, according to CNN, and said he expects the report to be released “sometime in April, probably.”
Barr wrote in his summary of Mueller’s report that there was “no evidence” of collusion and insufficient evidence of obstruction. Barr also noted, however, that the report does not “exonerate” Trump, and Democrats and their media counterparts will certainly pick through the report for additional dirt on the president and claim he should be impeached or indicted.
What actually needs to happen for transparency is the release of the documents relating to what inspired the investigation into Trump in the first place. Critical portions of the FISA warrant requests were redacted, suggesting the priority wasn’t to preserve national security, but avoid embarrassment.