Two weeks ago, a couple of days before Special Counsel Robert Mueller submitted his report on the Russia scandal to the Justice Department, Donald Trump was unambiguous in expressing his support for full disclosure. “[L]et it come out,” the president said of Mueller’s findings. “Let people see it.” He went on to marvel at the “tens of millions of people” who will want to see the document.
Less than a week later, on March 25, Trump was asked whether he wanted to see the Mueller report “completely released.” The president replied, “Up the attorney general, but it wouldn’t bother me at all…. Wouldn’t bother me at all.” Four days later, on March 29, the Republican added, in reference to disclosure, “I have nothing to hide…. I have absolutely nothing to hide.”
Yesterday, however, Trump’s posture seemed to shift, just a little. Instead of expressing his support for full disclosure, the president started to signal his belief that full disclosure wouldn’t necessarily matter. He published a tweet that read in part:
“No matter what information is given to the crazed Democrats from the No Collusion Mueller Report, it will never be good enough.”
This morning, apparently responding to something he saw on Fox News, Trump added another tweet, which read in part:
“[W]ith the NO COLLUSION Mueller Report, which the Dems hate, he wants it all. NOTHING WILL EVER SATISFY THEM!”
And then he added another, in case the other tweets were too subtle:
“There is no amount of testimony or document production that can satisfy Jerry Nadler or Shifty Adam Schiff. It is now time to focus exclusively on properly running our great Country!”
Whatever happened to the “let people see it” position from two weeks ago?
It’s worth noting that calling it the “No Collusion Mueller Report” is itself a little silly. We haven’t seen the document, but any sensible assessment of what we know so far should acknowledge the difference between “no collusion” and “not enough evidence to bring a criminal indictment.”
But I’m also curious what prompted Trump’s shift in posture. For a while, the president seemed to have no qualms about allowing everyone to see Mueller’s findings, which he insisted were great news for him and the country. Now, Trump seems far less committed to disclosure.
So, what happened? If the report “totally” exonerates the president, as he claims, why shift at all?