Two days after Attorney General Bill Barr issued his characterizations of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report, Donald Trump was eager to exaggerate the findings. "The Mueller report was great," the president told reporters two weeks ago, referring to a document he has not read. "It could not have been better."
It was part of an aggressive White House public-relations offensive, intended to convince the public that the special counsel had fully exonerated Trump and his team, while destroying the credibility of anyone who dared take the Russia scandal seriously.
That confidence has started to evaporate. The president who fully endorsed disclosing the Mueller report, for example, recently changed his mind. White House officials have started to signal their concerns that their colleagues have oversold the special counsel's actual findings.
And 12 days after Trump said the Mueller report "could not have been better," a high-profile member of the president's legal defense team suggested that the still-hidden document may raise at least a little trouble for his boss.
President Donald Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani said Sunday that he was "confident" there would "be no evidence of anything really bad" in special counsel Robert Mueller's final report.But, in an interview with CBS News' Margaret Brennan, Giuliani stopped short of saying there would be no evidence of obstruction of justice in the report, a question that Attorney General William Barr's four-page summary of the expansive document left open.
When the host asked, "Are you confident there will be no evidence of obstruction of justice in these 400 pages?" Giuliani replied that he has reason to be confident that there will be "no evidence of anything really bad."
That would appear to leave open the possibility of evidence that's kinda sorta bad.
Giuliani than tried to change the subject to conspiracy theories involving Roger Stone's arrest.
For his part, the president himself appears to have cut short his victory lap to take aim at the special counsel's investigation again. Against a backdrop in which members of Team Mueller let reporters know that the attorney general's assessment isn't altogether fair, Trump tweeted, "Bob Mueller's team of 13 Trump Haters & Angry Democrats are illegally leaking information to the press."
For one thing, that's not a denial about the accuracy of the reports. For another, it's odd for the president to whine about leaks from Team Mueller about its report after Trump publicly endorsed that report's release to the public.
What's more, there's nothing "illegal" about investigators making clear that the attorney general may be pulling a fast one on the public and the press.
The day before Trump published that missive, the president wrote a series of related complaints about the investigation. A Republican close to the White House told Politico, in reference to Trump, "He wouldn't be bringing this up still if everything was hunky dory."