The public and members of Congress will be in the dark for at least one more day on special counsel Robert Mueller’s central conclusions about contacts between associates of President Donald Trump and Russia during the 2016 campaign.
The Justice Department informed Congress on Saturday afternoon that Attorney General William Barr would not provide findings to lawmakers until at least Sunday, officials at Justice and on Capitol Hill confirmed, prolonging rampant speculation about what might be in Mueller’s report and fueling Democrats’ increasingly urgent pleas to release the entire document.
However, Barr, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and their top aides were at Justice Department headquarters Saturday poring over Mueller’s submission and considering how to boil down the core conclusions into a summary that can be made public before officials embark on a review of the whole document, an official said.
Access to Mueller’s report has been limited to “very few” individuals, a Justice official said, in part out of concern about leaks of one of the most politically sensitive documents in modern American history.
Democrats huddled on Saturday to strategize about how to talk about the as-yet-unseen report and how to force the Justice Department to make it public — a possible drag-out legal fight that could consume Washington for months.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi hosted a conference call with House Democrats on Saturday afternoon to discuss the report’s impending arrival. According to multiple sources who participated in the call, Pelosi said she would reject an offer for a classified briefing on Mueller’s underlying findings, arguing that the evidence should be unclassified despite DOJ guidelines that state the department should not disclose damaging information about individuals who are not indicted.
House Democratic committee chairs repeatedly referred to Republicans’ efforts to disclose documents related to other former top officials who were not indicted, including Hillary Clinton and former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, when they controlled the House during the first two years of the Trump presidency.