Trump, White House Aides Rebuff Accounts of Damaging Mueller Report

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Mueller's decision to skip prosecutorial judgment "leaves it to the attorney general to determine whether the conduct described in the report constitutes a crime", Barr wrote.

Allegations this week that the US Justice chief downplayed serious evidence of illegal obstruction by Trump in Special Counsel Robert Mueller's final report are fuelling demands that he release the entire, unexpurgated document to Congress.

The statement Thursday came as Barr confronts concerns that his four-page letter summarizing Mueller's conclusions unduly sanitized the full report in President Donald Trump's favor, including on the key question of whether the president obstructed justice. He also asked Barr to hand over communications between the special counsel's team and the department about the report. He also said Mueller declined to prosecute or exonerate Trump on the question of obstruction of justice.

Referring to Trump's attorney general William Barr, Giuliani argued that the top law enforcement official "has said he's going to put up the maximum amount of information possible". He is expected to face extensive questioning about the Mueller report and his ongoing redaction process, though, and his testimony will be scrutinized for any sign he is trying to protect the president.

Ultimately, the president posted a New York Post article encouraging Democrats to "give up" - a clear shot across the bow of Democratic-led House committees now ramping up their own investigations of the president, his family, and his businesses. Democratic opponents of Trump in Congress, and some Republicans, have called for release of the full Mueller report, with one Democratic-controlled committee in the House of Representatives last week voting to subpoena the full report and supporting material. "We are very hopeful the attorney general will do the right thing here and make everything public that can lawfully be made public".

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"The Department of Justice will continue to defend the long established tradition of protecting grand jury information", said spokeswoman Kelly Laco.

In an odd stroke of timing, the federal appeals court in Washington issued a ruling Friday in an unrelated case that buttresses the argument for keeping a close hold on grand jury information.

The Kremlin has consistently denied any involvement in the 2016 U.S. presidential elections.

"That leak really indicates all you need to know about Mueller's prosecutors", Giuliani said on the Times' unnamed sources.

Then a Washington corporate attorney - but without knowledge of the internal work of the Russian Federation probe - Barr declared that "Mueller's obstruction theory is fatally misconceived" and based on "a novel and legally unsupportable reading of the law".