Attorney General Bill Barr has briefed the White House on special counsel Bob Mueller’s report and sparked “significant concern” about what former White House counsel Don McGahn told prosecutors, ABC News’ Jon Karl reports.
Karl revealed on Sunday’s edition of “This Week” that Barr briefed the White House on the Mueller report as he prepares to release a redacted version to Congress later this month.
“They have been briefed but I’m told in broad brush strokes,” Karl said. “They’ve been briefed enough to know that the White House will not invoke executive privilege to try to get further redactions.”
“But there is significant concern on the president’s team about what will be in this report,” he added. “There is significant concerns about what will be in here — new information — on the obstruction of justice question, what the president was doing regarding some of the big questions.”
“What worries them most is what Don McGahn told the special counsel,” he explained. “It was reported that he spent 30 hours before the special counsel. I’m told significantly more than 30 hours.”
Trump plans to go on attack after report released:
“No Collusion, No Obstruction, Complete and Total EXONERATION,” Trump tweeted last month when Barr submitted a brief letter to Congress upon the completion of Mueller’s investigation.
“The bottom line: The result is no collusion, no obstruction, and that’s the way it is,” he repeated to reporters Thursday.
Despite claiming total exoneration, Trump’s team plans a full-on attack once the report is released, The New York Times reported.
“Our goal is to respond as quick as we can; given the length of the report, it may take some time to respond, Trump attorney Jay Sekulow told The Times. “But we have a plan in place to respond in a professional manner as quickly and appropriately as possible.”
The Times added that Trump has threatened to send detained migrants to sanctuary cities as revenge against his political enemies to “distract from the report,” according to sources close to the president.
Trump’s strategy may backfire:
Critics on the Democratic side say Trump’s “full exoneration” strategy ahead of a report that specifically notes it “does not exonerate” Trump on obstruction of justice could backfire.
“Whatever Trump may have thought when he claimed total exoneration two weeks ago, subsequent events strongly suggest that claim will fall flat on its face,” former Obama acting solicitor general Neal Katyal told The Times. “And because Trump claimed total exoneration from the report, he created massive public pressure for the full report to be released.”
“He will probably have succeeded in setting the narrative for his core supporters and hardening their attitudes, but at the expense of anyone else believing him when the report comes out and inevitably undermines what he’s been claiming,” added Matthew Miller, a former Obama Justice Department spokesman. “The same things that solidify his base just prevent him from expanding beyond it at all.”