President Donald Trump said Wednesday he would support the public release of the special counsel report on possible Russian ties to his 2016 campaign, telling reporters Attorney General William Barr should “let it come out.”
Trump, who declined last month to commit to making the results of the investigation public, said “tens of millions” of Americans would want to read the report prepared by special counsel Robert Mueller.
“Let people see it. That’s up to the attorney general,” Trump told reporters on the South Lawn of the White House. He later added, “There was no collusion. There was no obstruction. There was no nothing.”
The law does not require the Justice Department to publicly release a report on the special counsel investigation, and in the past the president has said he would not interfere in the department’s decision about whether to do so.
But the question of whether and how the report might be released has been a persistent one since Matthew Whitaker, then the acting attorney general, told reporters in January that the investigation was nearly completed.
Barr declined to guarantee the public release of the report during his Senate confirmation hearings last month. Mueller has not publicly commented on the matter.
But last week, Republicans and Democrats in the House demanded, in a nonbinding vote of 420-0, that the Justice Department publicly release the full findings of the special counsel’s investigation.
Justice Department rules require Mueller to explain his prosecutorial decisions at the end of the investigation in a confidential report to the attorney general, who must then send a report to Congress indicating why the work has been completed. But the attorney general’s report to Congress is not required to be exhaustive and may be only a summary of the special counsel’s findings.
Trump said Wednesday he was looking forward to reading the report. But he told reporters he thought he should not have to bother with the special counsel investigation by dint of his “tremendous” Electoral College victory in 2016.
“It’s sort of interesting that a man, out of the blue, just writes a report,” he said. “I think it’s ridiculous.”