U.S. Attorney General William Barr and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein will hold a news conference Thursday morning regarding special counsel Robert Mueller’s report, the Justice Department announced.
A redacted version of the nearly 400-page report by Mueller, on Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. election that was aimed at helping Donald Trump win the presidency, will be delivered to Congress between 11 a.m. and 12 p.m. EDT (UTC 1500-1600).
Democrats: Barr spinning report
Democratic lawmakers immediately criticized the announcement, saying Barr was trying to spin the report’s findings before its release.
Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee Jerrold Nadler of New York held a news conference late Wednesday to say Barr is “taking unprecedented steps to spin” the report.
Nadler said Barr’s decision to hold a news conference before Congress has received the report will “again result with the report being presented through his own words.
He said it appeared that the attorney general is waging a media campaign “on behalf of President Donald Trump” rather than working in the interest of the American people.
White House conversations
Nadler was reacting to a report by The New York Times that White House lawyers have had numerous conversations with Justice Department officials about the report. The Times, quoting unnamed sources, said the conversations have helped the White House prepare its rebuttal and strategize its response.
The Justice Department and the White House declined to comment on the report.
Nadler said he will “probably find it useful” to call Mueller and his team to testify before his committee.
In a radio interview Wednesday, Trump floated the idea that he, too, may hold a news conference.
“Attorney General Barr is going to be giving a press conference, maybe I’ll do one after that, we’ll see,” Trump said in an interview with WMAL Radio’s Larry O’Connor.
Mueller investigated the Trump campaign’s contacts with Russia and whether Trump, as president, obstructed justice by trying to thwart the probe. Sparring over the report in advance of its release has been rampant.
Barr released a four-page summary of Mueller’s findings three weeks ago, saying the prosecutor had concluded that Trump and his campaign did not collude with Russia to help him win but had reached no conclusion about whether Trump obstructed justice. But with Mueller not reaching a decision on the obstruction issue, Barr and Rosenstein decided no obstruction charges against Trump were warranted.