WASHINGTON – U.S. Justice Department officials had numerous conversations in recent days with White House lawyers about the conclusions of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, the New York Times and ABC News reported on Wednesday.
Mueller on March 22 submitted his report to U.S. Attorney General William Barr on his investigation into whether the campaign of Republican Donald Trump worked with Moscow to sway the election in his favor, and whether President Trump committed obstruction of justice with actions to impede the inquiry.
The New York Times, which cited people with knowledge of the discussions between the department and Trump’s lawyers, said the talks had assisted the president’s legal team as it prepared a rebuttal to a redacted version of the full report scheduled to be released on Thursday morning.
The Justice Department declined comment. Trump lawyer Jay Sekulow also declined comment.
Barr so far has sent a letter to Congress describing what he called a summary of the main conclusions of the investigation.
In his letter to lawmakers, Barr said Mueller did not find that members of Trump’s campaign engaged in a criminal conspiracy with Russia. Barr said he determined there was not enough evidence to establish that Trump committed the crime of obstruction of justice, though Mueller did not exonerate Trump on obstruction.
Barr said he would hold a news conference at 9:30 a.m. EDT (1330 GMT) on Thursday to discuss the Mueller report, along with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who appointed Mueller as special counsel in May 2017.