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White House opposition to disclosing Mueller report intensifies

If Trump's claims about the Mueller report were true, common sense suggests he'd support full disclosure. Instead, his insistence on secrecy is intensifying.
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is seen during a press conference at Los Pinos on Aug. 31, 2016 in Mexico City, Mexico. (Photo by Hector Vivas/LatinContent/Getty)
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is seen during a press conference at Los Pinos on Aug. 31, 2016 in Mexico City, Mexico.

Donald Trump's original position on disclosing Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report was unambiguous: the president insisted he had "nothing to hide" and supported the release of the findings. "Let people see it," the Republican declared.

This week, that posture shifted. In a series of tweets, the president didn't explicitly reject the idea of disclosure, but he questioned the value of letting members of Congress see the report.

During a brief Q&A with reporters in the Oval Office yesterday, Trump was even less subtle.

"Well, I think it's ridiculous. We went through two years of the Mueller investigation. We have -- I mean, not only that, you read the -- the wording. It was proven. Who could go through that and get wording where it was no collusion, no nothing? So, there's no collusion. The attorney general now and the deputy attorney general ruled no obstruction. They said no obstruction. And so, there's no collusion. There's no obstruction. And now, we're going to start this process all over again? I think it's a disgrace."These are just Democrats that want to try and demean this country and it shouldn't be allowed.... I will tell you anything we give them will never be enough."

The president went on to say he sees disclosure as "somewhat of a waste of time."

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders added in a Fox News interview, when asked about House Democratic demands for the report, "I think it just shows again what sore losers the Democrats really are."

So to recap, the White House wants Americans to believe the Mueller report fully exonerates the president and humiliates his perceived enemies. Common sense suggests Trump and his allies should be printing up copies of the report by the thousands and dropping them from helicopters, plastering it everywhere online, and urging conservative media to read it in a continuous loop.

Instead, however, the president who recently endorsed full disclosure suddenly prefers secrecy.

A cynic might wonder if maybe Trump and his team oversold the special counsel's findings -- and maybe Mueller's report isn't nearly as flattering as the president wants the public to believe.

Whatever the cause for the White House's change of heart, lawmakers remain eager to receive the hidden document. The House Judiciary Committee gave Attorney General Bill Barr a deadline of today to produce the report, and unless Barr unexpectedly changes his mind, his office will ignore that deadline.

A committee vote on subpoenas is expected later today.