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Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg joined other Democrats in criticizing Attorney General William Barr for planning a press conference Thursday morning before releasing a redacted version of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report to members of Congress, saying it shows the Trump administration’s failure to maintain transparency.

“It’s really disturbing, but more evidence of this administration’s attitude on transparency,” Buttigieg told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” during an extensive interview about his candidacy, which he announced earlier this week.

He said he learned very quickly as mayor of South Bend, Indiana that when people don’t have full information, “they’re going to fill in the blanks, and they’re going to fill in the worst.”

Buttigieg said that he would “imagine what’s happening here, there’s a lot of redaction, and I’m guessing they want to fill in the blanks a certain way, put a certain idea in our heads before we have a chance to formulate our own opinion.”

The solution to that, he added, is “maximum transparency.”

“On our most sensitive issues at home, we tried to [release] as much information as we could and we just published them online so everybody could read them and didn’t have to dig them up out of the courtroom themselves,” said Buttigieg. “If we were going to get beat up on something, at least it was factual and we could explain our choices, admit to anything that could have been done differently and move on.”
He added that if he was advising a president at a moment like this, “I would advise being as transparent as you can. Instead, it sounds like what they want to do is describe this and then turn it over.”

Source: NewsMax Politics

Former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen on Thursday promised to fill in the blanks on Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, hours before a redacted version of his report was due to be made public.

“Soon I will be ready to address the American people again…tell it all…and tell it myself!” Cohen tweeted.

MICHAEL COHEN ASKS HOUSE DEMOCRATS TO HELP KEEP HIM OUT OF PRISON

That tweet came after his attorney Lanny Davis, tweeted that Cohen “knows and can fill in the bulk of the redactions.”

“We will tell it all,” he promised.

Cohen is scheduled to report to jail next month to begin serving a three-year prison sentence after he pleaded guilty to tax evasion, fraud, lying to Congress and campaign finance violations.

He testified to Congress in February, branding Trump a “racist….a conman….a cheat” and expressing regret for having worked for Trump. In that testimony, he said he had “suspicions” that Trump’s presidential campaign colluded with Russia — though the special counsel apparently did not find such evidence.

COHEN LOBS BOMBS AT TRUMP DURING FIERY HEARING, STOPS SHORT OF COLLUSION CLAIM AS GOP BASHES CREDIBILITY

Cohen’s legal team sent a letter to House Democrats this month saying he was still sorting through documents that might be of interest to House Democrats investigating President Trump, including emails, voice recordings, images and other documents on a hard drive. The lawyers said if Cohen reports to prison May 6 as scheduled, he won’t be able to finish reviewing the material.

They asked the lawmakers to write letters saying that Cohen was cooperating and that “the substantial trove of new information, documents, recordings, and other evidence he can provide requires substantial time with him and ready access to him by congressional committees and staff to complete their investigations and to fulfill their oversight responsibilities.”

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Cohen’s lawyers said they were still holding out hope that federal prosecutors in New York not only would back another delay in the start of his prison term, but also would agree to reopen his case and advocate for a lighter sentence.

“It is our hope that the authorities in the Southern District of New York will consider this total picture of cooperation by Mr. Cohen, verified by your letter and the important new evidence he has made available or could make available to assist the government, and the particular facts involved here to grant Mr. Cohen a reduced term following the rules and procedures of the Southern District of New York.”

Fox News’ Gregg Re contributed to this report.

Source: Fox News Politics

President Trump‘s supporters can expect to hear the same liberal talking points of collusion and obstruction following the release of the redacted Mueller report, a political analyst told Fox News.

David Brody, Christian Broadcasting Network chief political correspondent, appeared on “Fox & Friends” and broke down the Democrat narrative of Russian collusion with the Trump campaign Thursday ahead of the report’s release.

“Donald Trump has the ultimate trump card, right?” Brody told Fox News chief national correspondent Ed Henry. “No collusion.”

IN MUELLER REPORT’S RELEASE TRUMP LOOKS FOR VINDICATION, BUT NEW FIGHTS LOOM

He added: “I think what we are going to see with Democrats today is… they’re going to try to connect the dots and Adam Schiff is going to have some sort of collusion diagram going on.”

Democrats, Brody charged, could end up contradicting themselves by questioning what Mueller found — despite previously praising him.

“Democrats can’t have it both ways, here. They wanted a special counsel, they got it. They said Mueller is a fair guy, and now all of a sudden, Mueller doesn’t know what he is talking about. That doesn’t work.”

Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer put out a statement ahead of the Barr news conference saying they want Mueller to testify, which Brody calls the “nook and cranny strategy” to figure out a way to put Mueller in front of Congress.

He then took aim at those in the media critical of Barr’s news conference, slated for 9:30 a.m. ET.

“The media complaining about a press conference. Let me get this straight — Bill Barr is going to have a press conference and you can ask him questions about a process. No, no, no, no. We don’t want to do it. We don’t want that press conference? What in the world? It’s upside down,” Brody said.

Nearly two years of fevered speculation surrounding the Russia probe, though, will come to a head in a dramatic television finale-like moment on Thursday morning, when Barr and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein are set to hold a press conference to discuss the Mueller report’s public release.

It was not immediately clear exactly when on Thursday the DOJ would release the redacted version of the nearly 400-page investigation into Russian election meddling, but the document was expected to be delivered to lawmakers and posted online by noon.

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Barr has said redactions in the report’s release are legally mandated.to protect four broad areas of concern: sensitive grand jury-related matters, classified information, ongoing investigations and the privacy or reputation of uncharged “peripheral” people.

The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Democrat New York Rep. Jerrold Nadler, has said he is prepared to issue subpoenas “very quickly” for the full report if it is released with blacked-out sections, likely setting in motion a major legal battle.

Source: Fox News Politics

Even before William Barr’s appearance at the Justice Department this morning, he had been utterly vilified—for the sin of showing up to answer reporters’ questions.

There was, to be sure, more to it than that. By making his public appearance before the Mueller report was released, the attorney general appeared to be engaging in a partisan maneuver. He was, it was said, trying to frame the narrative in a way that would help the man who appointed him.

TRUMP BLASTS RUSSIA PROBE AS ‘HOAX’ AND ‘HARASSMENT’ AHEAD OF MUELLER REPORT RELEASE

But any attempt at spin would be short-lived at best, as journalists and members of Congress would see the anxiously awaited report about 90 minutes after the Barr presser.

Even before word leaked about the delayed release, which in my view was too cute by half, Barr was being savaged. The Washington lawyer who came into office highly respected—he had, after all, held the same job under George H.W. Bush—had shredded his credibility, according to the liberal indictment. Commentators at MSNBC were absolutely horrified that he would hold a news conference at all—and indeed, leading Democrats soon demanded that the AG cancel the session.

In other words, the pundits would be talking about Barr and his handling of the explosive report all day, but for him to publicly respond to questions was a bridge too far.

Sure, it would have been better to release the report first and make Barr available second. But the media uproar reflected the enormous anxiety in the runup to the report’s release, filled with days of speculation and advance conclusions about a document none of us had seen.

More concerning is a New York Times report that Justice Department officials had “numerous conversations with White House lawyers” about Mueller’s conclusions in recent days, helping the president’s legal team prepare its rebuttal report. And President Trump was leading the prebuttal, tweeting early this morning that “The Greatest Political Hoax of all time! Crimes were committed by Crooked, Dirty Cops and DNC/The Democrats.”

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The net effect is that after the deputy attorney general named Robert Mueller to lead an independent investigation insulated from politics, the matter is back in the hands of Trump political appointees—in part because Mueller punted on deciding obstruction of justice charges, leaving the matter to Barr.

But all the advance spin and counterspin will be moot the moment the report comes out.

Source: Fox News Politics

Attorney General William Barr will lead a press conference Thursday ahead of the release of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report into Russian effort to influence the 2016 presidential election and its ties to the Trump campaign.

Barr is expected to be joined by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. The release of the redacted report is expected later Thursday morning.

The decision to hold a press conference ahead of the report’s release sparked controversy among Democrats who claimed it was a move to shape the narrative surrounding the report. Some Democrats demanded Barr cancel the press conference.

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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer issued a joint statement calling on the attorney general to testify.

“Attorney General Barr’s regrettably partisan handling of the Mueller report, including his slanted March 24th summary letter, his irresponsible testimony before Congress last week, and his indefensible plan to spin the report in a press conference later this morning — hours before he allows the public or Congress to see it — have resulted in a crisis of confidence in his independence and impartiality,” they said. “We believe the only way to begin restoring public trust in the handling of the Special Counsel’s investigation is for Special Counsel Mueller himself to provide public testimony in the House and Senate as soon as possible.”

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Source: Fox News Politics

Conservative commentator Ann Coulter said she could wind up voting for Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., for president.

But Coulter said he would first have to return to his early position on immigration.

Coulter made her comments during an interview for the PBS show, “Firing Line with Margaret Hoover.” The show’s Twitter account posted a video excerpt of the interview.

“If he went back to his original position, which is the pro blue-collar position…I mean, it totally makes sense with him,” she said. “If he went back to that position, I’d vote for him. I might work for him.

“I don’t care about the rest of the socialist stuff. Just can we do something for ordinary Americans?

Fox News said Coulter was apparently referring to Sanders’ policy position in 2007 when he opposed an immigration reform bill he feared would push down wages for lower-income workers.

And Newsweek noted Coulter had been a supporter of President Donald Trump, but believes he is not keeping to his hardline promises of his campaign, particularly on immigration.

Source: NewsMax Politics

Barnes & Noble is offering curious readers a chance to view special counsel Robert Mueller’s full report on the Russia investigation as soon as Attorney General William Barr drops the 400-page document early Thursday.

In a tweet, the bookselling company instructed followers how to easily download the materials.

“Be the first to read THE MUELLER REPORT for free! Pre-order today and it will be delivered to your NOOK Library upon expected release,” Barnes & Noble wrote Wednesday in a tweet, which has been shared nearly 500 times.

IN MUELLER REPORT’S RELEASE, TRUMP LOOKS FOR VINDICATION, BUT NEW FIGHTS LOOM

Users who don’t have the NOOK Library can download the NOOK reading app to read a PDF or “direct replica” of the report on their smartphones.

“The Mueller Report as released by the U.S. Department of Justice, Barr redactions and all, and it is essential reading for all Americans on both sides of the aisle,” a description of the Mueller report on NOOK reads, in part. “After almost two long years, the wait is over for one of the most important investigations in the history of American politics.”

The Justice Department is expected to release a redacted version of the special counsel’s report on Russian election interference and the Trump campaign following Barr’s scheduled 9:30 a.m. news conference. Barr will present his interpretation of the report’s findings before providing redacted copies to Congress and the public Thursday.

FOX NEWS POLL: TRUMP POPULARITY HOLDING STEADY AFTER MUELLER SUMMARY RELEASE

Dozens of people thanked Barnes & Noble for giving them an easy way to read the lengthy report — with many jokingly questioning whether the download would also be free of redactions.

Both the public and lawmakers on Capitol Hill have been eager to read Mueller’s final report on the years-long probe which resulted in charges for several former Trump campaign associates, though none were directly related to collusion.

The House of Representatives unanimously voted (420-0) on March 14 in favor of a resolution to urge Attorney General William Barr to release Mueller’s full report to Congress and the country for the sake of “transparency.”

It’s likely Barr will redact any information he deems inappropriate or harmful to a person’s character if he or she has not been charged with a crime. Classified information, grand jury items and closed-door testimony will also be protected.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Source: Fox News Politics

Special Counsel Robert Mueller should testify before Congress and answer lawmakers’ questions regarding his report of the Russia investigation into President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign, Judge Andrew Napolitano said.

The Fox News senior judicial analyst said on “Fox & Friends” early Thursday morning – just hours before Attorney General William Barr is expected to release the highly anticipated report – said there is a “tremendous desire on the of Americans to see what is there.”

“This has consumed us for two years,” Napolitano added.

IN MUELLER REPORT’S RELEASE, TRUMP LOOKS FOR VINDICATION, BUT NEW FIGHTS LOOM

Napolitano said the report will be a 400-page summary of the documents, interviews and notes the special counsel has amassed over the past two years and it will be lightly redacted. That said, Democrats are going to look at everything see what they can use against the president.

“If there is anything in there that they can use to undermine his legitimacy or undermine his credibility or weaken his re-election chances, of course, they are going to do it,” he said. “That’s what they do. They are the other side.”

Barr and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein scheduled a 9:30 a.m. ET press conference to discuss the Mueller report’s public release. The Department of Justice said Wednesday that certain members of Congress will be able to see the report “without certain redactions” after its public release.

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Napolitano said certain ranking members of the Intelligence Committee have top security clearance to see anything.

“Now, can they reveal what they see? If they do, they are going to undermine their credibility,” he added. “They will never have a secret shared with them again.”

It was not immediately clear exactly when on Thursday the DOJ would release the redacted version of the nearly 400-page investigation into Russian election meddling, but the document was expected to be delivered to lawmakers and posted online by noon.

Barr has said redactions in the report’s release are legally mandated.to protect four broad areas of concern: sensitive grand jury-related matters, classified information, ongoing investigations and the privacy or reputation of uncharged “peripheral” people.

The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Democrat New York Rep. Jerrold Nadler, has said he is prepared to issue subpoenas “very quickly” for the full report if it is released with blacked-out sections, likely setting in motion a major legal battle.

Source: Fox News Politics

Herman Cain said Wednesday he is “very committed” to being vetted for a seat on the Federal Reserve board and he does not plan to withdraw his name from consideration, even though he may not have enough support in the Senate to confirm him if he’s nominated.

“I don’t quit because of negative criticism,” Cain, a former presidential candidate and restaurant entrepreneur, told The Wall Street Journal. “I don’t quit because of negative attacks. And I don’t quit because several senators have expressed reservations about my qualifications.”

Further, Cain said he believes “new voices” are needed on the Fed.

Four Republican senators have said they will not support Cain because of ongoing concerns about sexual-harassment allegations, which he has denied, and because of concerns about his activism as a conservative.

Cain said President Donald Trump’s top economic adviser, Larry Kudlow, called him in January to invite him to the White House to speak with Trump about the Fed. He spoke first with Kudlow and acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, before later meeting with Trump and Kudlow in the Oval Office. On April 4, Trump announced he wanted Cain.

Cain was the chief executive of Godfather’s Pizza in the 1980s and 1990s and has sat on the boards of multiple companies. He commented that Trump liked his business background.

He said he believes the Fed should remain independent, but he also would not ignore Trump’s views.

“I wouldn’t totally tune it out because they may be saying something that might cause you to ask some different questions, but not do what they are saying politically,” Cain said. “The Fed is not and should not become a political machine.”

Source: NewsMax Politics

President Trump sought to get out ahead of Thursday’s release of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report by branding the Russia investigation anew as “the greatest political hoax of all time.”

The president issued his condemnations via tweet shortly before Attorney General Bill Barr was set to hold a press conference, and then issue a redacted version of the Russia report.

“The Greatest Political Hoax of all time! Crimes were committed by Crooked Dirty Cops and DNC/The Democrats,” Trump tweeted.

IN MUELLER  REPORT’S RELEASE, TRUMP LOOKS FOR VINDICATION, BUT NEW FIGHTS LOOM

He soon followed with: “PRESIDENTIAL HARASSMENT!”

The tweets mark the first rhetorical shots of the day by the White House in a broader battle between Republicans and Democrats to frame the report before it is made public.

Barr is scheduled to hold his press conference at 9:30 a.m. with Deputy Rod Rosenstein, where he is expected to address the redactions to the document, interactions with White House officials about the report and executive privilege.

The decision to hold a press conference before the report is published sparked furious pushback from Democrats, with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., issuing a joint statement calling it “indefensible.”

FOX NEWS POLL: TRUMP POPULARITY HOLDING STEADY AFTER MUELLER SUMMARY RELEASE

“Attorney General Barr’s regrettably partisan handling of the Mueller report, including his slanted March 24th summary letter, his irresponsible testimony before Congress last week, and his indefensible plan to spin the report in a press conference later this morning — hours before he allows the public or Congress to see it — have resulted in a crisis of confidence in his independence and impartiality,” they said. “We believe the only way to begin restoring public trust in the handling of the Special Counsel’s investigation is for Special Counsel Mueller himself to provide public testimony in the House and Senate as soon as possible.”

Barr angered Democrats with his decision last month to issue a four-page summary of the report, in which he said Mueller had concluded there was no evidence of collusion between members of the Trump campaign and Russia during the 2016 campaign. The special counsel also reviewed whether the president had obstructed justice in any way, but ultimately did not come to a conclusion on that issue. Barr and Rosenstein, though, said the evidence was “not sufficient to establish that the President committed an obstruction-of-justice offense.”

Democrats had demanded Barr release the entire unredacted report to Congress, and expressed frustration at what they have considered a delay from the administration — likely exacerbated by Trump’s frequent declarations that he had been exonerated by the report, and Barr’s intention to review the beginnings of the investigation.

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Congressional Democrats have signaled that the release will be just the beginning of a showdown with the administration over the extent of report redactions, as well as further questions about whether the president obstructed justice during the Russia investigation.

Meanwhile, a source close to Trump’s legal team told Fox News on Wednesday that the president’s lawyers have been working on a counter-report in anticipation of any obstruction of justice claims in the report.

Fox News’ Catherine Herridge, Bill Mears, Brooke Singman and Gregg Re contributed to this report.

Source: Fox News Politics


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