What to Watch Ahead of Mueller Report Release

It’s finally happening.

On Thursday, the Justice Department will release the highly anticipated findings of the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III. The report — expected to be about 400 pages — is the product of a yearslong investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election and whether any Trump associates conspired as well as whether President Trump tried to undermine the inquiry.

Here is what to watch as we head into an eventful day.

Attorney General William P. Barr and his deputy, Rod J. Rosenstein, will hold a news conference at 9:30 a.m. The Justice Department will turn the report over to Congress between 11 a.m. and noon on compact discs, according to a senior department official. Though the delivery method might sound outdated, it is not unusual for lawmakers to receive large government reports on the discs.

The report will be posted online for the public sometime after that, the senior Justice Department official said.

Mr. Barr’s news conference will be his first since he outlined Mr. Mueller’s conclusions last month in a four-page letter to Congress that has drawn criticism. Lawmakers and critics of Mr. Trump have questioned whether Mr. Barr’s account fully reflected the results of two years of investigation. Members of Mr. Mueller’s team have privately told associates that his reduction of their work did not adequately convey findings that they deemed more troubling for the president than the attorney general publicly acknowledged.

— Mikayla Bouchard

Justice Department officials in recent days have had numerous conversations with White House lawyers about the conclusions made by Mr. Mueller, according to people with knowledge of the discussions. The talks have aided the president’s legal team as it prepares a rebuttal to the report and strategizes for the coming public war over its findings.

— Michael S. Schmidt and Maggie Haberman

[Read more: White House and Justice Dept. Officials Discussed Mueller Report Before Release]

Mr. Barr has said that law enforcement officials are blacking out sensitive information and that the redactions will be color-coded so we will know the reason behind each one. They will fall into four categories:

1. Information that has been presented to a grand jury, which is subject to secrecy rules.

2. Material that intelligence officials fear could compromise sensitive sources and methods.

3. Information that could hamper other current investigations, including spinoffs of the Mueller inquiry. Federal prosecutors in Brooklyn and Manhattan are investigating the finances of the Trump inaugural committee and hush payments intended to cover up a sex scandal that threatened to upend Mr. Trump’s campaign.

4. Material that the Justice Department believes would unfairly infringe on the privacy and damage the reputations of “peripheral third parties.”

—Sharon LaFraniere

[Read more: All the FAQs around the Mueller report.]

Democrats who control the House have insisted that they be given access to the full report as well as any underlying evidence, arguing that they cannot trust Mr. Barr, a Trump appointee, to independently decide what gets released and what does not. The House Judiciary Committee has already authorized a subpoena for the unredacted report and may issue it if Democratic leaders are unsatisfied.

The report will also likely offer fodder for Democratic presidential candidates to criticize the president.

Mr. Trump’s legal team is expected to release its own report to counter Mr. Mueller’s findings. The rebuttal would not be an official government document, but is likely to try to paint the investigation as biased against Mr. Trump.

— Peter Baker

New York Times reporters who have been closely following this story for years will be providing real-time updates, analysis and context as they read the report and uncover the most important findings.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.