Mueller report

A-G plans to issue public version 'within weeks'

Congressional Democrats have demanded that US Attorney-General William Barr turn over the special counsel's report to them by April 2. Former Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos, the first person charged in the special counsel's investigation, sa
Congressional Democrats have demanded that US Attorney-General William Barr turn over the special counsel's report to them by April 2. Former Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos, the first person charged in the special counsel's investigation, said his lawyers have applied for a pardon and that he may withdraw his guilty plea.PHOTO: NYTIMES
Congressional Democrats have demanded that US Attorney-General William Barr turn over the special counsel's report to them by April 2. Former Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos, the first person charged in the special counsel's investigation, sa
Congressional Democrats have demanded that US Attorney-General William Barr turn over the special counsel's report to them by April 2. Former Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos, the first person charged in the special counsel's investigation, said his lawyers have applied for a pardon and that he may withdraw his guilty plea.PHOTO: NYTIMES

Democrats try to change topic to healthcare as Trump, aides use findings against rivals

WASHINGTON • US Attorney-General (A-G) William Barr plans to issue in a matter of weeks a public version of the special counsel's report that found President Donald Trump's 2016 campaign team did not conspire with Russia, as Mr Trump prepared to use the findings against his political opponents.

Democrats tried to change the topic to healthcare after Mr Robert Mueller's report appeared to shatter their case that Mr Trump was an illegitimately elected president.

A new Reuters/Ipsos poll found that 48 per cent of Americans still believed Mr Trump worked with Russia to interfere in the 2016 presidential election, down six points since conclusions from the Mueller report came out on Sunday.

The poll found Mr Trump's job approval rating had ticked up four points to 43 per cent following release of the findings. There was a thirst for more information, as 57 per cent of Americans said they wanted to see the entire report.

Mr Barr released his own summary of the report's central findings on Sunday but said he needed more time to review the report to determine how much of it could be made public.

A Justice Department official said on Tuesday that Mr Barr's plan was to release a public version in "weeks, not months". Congressional Democrats have demanded Mr Barr turn over the report to them by April 2, which would leave only a week for the Justice Department to complete its review. The Justice official said there was no plan to share an advance copy of the report with the White House.

Mr Trump and his top aides have attacked unidentified political opponents for starting the campaign investigation, calling the actions treasonous and worth probing.

"I think what happened was a disgrace," Mr Trump told reporters on a visit to the US Capitol. Republicans also were out for retribution, with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell saying he supported a push for an inquiry into potential missteps by law-enforcement officials in their probe of Mr Trump.

Trump advisers were predicting the President would go on the offensive at a rally in Grand Rapids, Michigan, tonight, his first major appearance since the Mueller investigation concluded.

Meanwhile, Democratic Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer leapt on a court filing from the Justice Department that said the entire Obamacare healthcare law - the signature legislative accomplishment of former Democratic president Barack Obama - should be struck down in the courts.

The law provides healthcare coverage for an estimated 20 million people. Mr Trump and his Republican allies, who see it as government overreach, have failed to replace it despite vows to do so.

"It is a stark reminder of the difference between our two parties: Democrats are fighting to expand and improve healthcare coverage and lower costs while Republicans are trying to take it all away and raise costs," Mr Schumer said on the Senate floor. Republican senators said they discussed ways to improve the healthcare system during their lunch with Mr Trump.

Separately, former Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos, the first person charged in Mr Mueller's Russia investigation, told Reuters on Tuesday his lawyers have applied for a pardon and that he may withdraw his guilty plea.

Papadopoulos, who worked as a foreign policy adviser for Mr Trump's presidential run, pleaded guilty in October 2017 to lying to the FBI about his communications with two Russian nationals and a Maltese professor with Russian ties while working on the campaign.

REUTERS

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 28, 2019, with the headline 'A-G plans to issue public version 'within weeks''. Print Edition | Subscribe