We don’t know whether or when Special Counsel Robert Mueller will prepare a report on his findings in the Russia scandal. It’s often assumed that Mueller and his team will issue such a document, at least to top officials in the Justice Department, but that’s never been officially confirmed.
Inside Donald Trump’s legal defense team, however, the president’s attorneys are apparently working from the assumption that the special counsel’s office will prepare a report. And as of last night, members of Team Trump don’t just want to read the document; they want to edit it.
Rudy Giuliani says President Trump’s legal team should be allowed to “correct” special counsel Robert Mueller’s final report before Congress or the American people get the chance to read it.
The claim, made in a telephone interview with The Hill on Thursday evening, goes further than the president’s legal advisers have ever gone before in arguing they have a right to review the conclusions of Mueller’s probe, which is now in its 20th month.
“As a matter of fairness, they should show it to you – so we can correct it if they’re wrong,” said the former New York City mayor, who is a member of Trump’s personal legal team. “They’re not God, after all. They could be wrong.”
So, in Giuliani’s vision of how the process should work, Mueller and his team would prepare a final report, which may implicate Trump in serious wrongdoing. Before that report is circulated, however, the president’s lawyers would have an opportunity to give the document some touch-ups.
This would be done, Trump’s lawyer said, as “a matter of fairness.”
Giuliani’s argument is obviously quite foolish and wholly at odds with how any system of justice is supposed to work. (Name another target of a criminal investigation who’d get the chance to “correct” an investigative report on their suspected misconduct before its release.) But let’s also not forget that this is at odds with Team Trump’s original plan.
In August, Giuliani bragged about a “voluminous” counter-report the president’s legal team was preparing, which would rebut possible allegations raised in Mueller’s findings. As of early December, however, Giuliani’s counter-report didn’t appear to exist.
Now, however, instead of writing their own document to correct the record, Trump’s lawyers would prefer to simply “correct” Mueller’s report itself.
The special counsel probably won’t want to go along with this. Call it a hunch.