Good morning. As everyone in Washington knows, it's Mueller report day. Best of luck to everyone's printers and CD-ROM drives. Reach out and sign up. Thanks for waking up with us.
- Controlling the narrative: Barr and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein will hold a news conference at 9:30 a.m., *prior* to the distribution of the report, to provide an overview and address process questions, a senior DOJ official told my Post colleagues.
- Then: “The report will be delivered on discs to Capitol Hill between 11 a.m. and noon, and posted on the special counsel’s website thereafter, the official said.”
- Tea leaves: My colleagues Matt Zapotosky, Carol D. Leonnig, Rosalind S. Helderman and Devlin Barrett scoop that the report is expected to be “lightly redacted:” " . . . it will offer a detailed blow-by-blow of the president’s alleged conduct — analyzing tweets, private threats and other episodes at the center of Mueller’s inquiry, they added.”
- But: Democrats reacted badly to the news, from ABC and then the New York Times, that Barr and company have shared information with the White House and President Trump before the rollout today. “Justice Department officials have had numerous conversations with White House lawyers about the conclusions made by Mr. Mueller, the special counsel, in recent days, according to people with knowledge of the discussions,” reports the Times. “The talks have aided the president’s legal team as it prepares a rebuttal to the report and strategizes for the coming public war over its findings.”
WHAT TRUMP IS SAYING:
- “You'll see a lot of very strong things come out tomorrow,” the president said on the “Larry O'Connor Show,” teasing Barr's presser Wednesday, preempting DOJ.
- Trump said on Wednesday that he might deliver his own post-Barr remarks as well. Keep an eye on his departure for Mar-a-Lago for the holiday weekend a 4 p.m. when he walks out onto the White House lawn.
- 5A.M. texts from Rudy Giuliani: “Ready to rumble,” Trump's personal attorney replied to us anticipation of Mueller's report, adding the counter-report his team has been preparing is "30 or so” pages “without appendix.”
WHAT DEMOCRATS ARE SAYING:
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D) was in his home state of New York last night, but held an impromptu presser to bash Barr's rollout. He and some other senior Democrats called on the attorney general to cancel his morning news conference.
- “I’m deeply troubled by reports that the WH is being briefed on the Mueller report AHEAD of its release,” Nadler wrote on Twitter. “Now, DOJ is informing us we will not receive the report until around 11/12 tomorrow afternoon — AFTER Barr’s press conference. This is wrong.”
- “The central concern here is that Attorney General Barr is not allowing the facts of the Mueller report to speak for themselves but is trying to bake in the narrative about the report to the benefit of the White House,” said Nadler at the presser.
- “Barr was the consummate politician in controlling the narrative when he wrote a four-page summary of a 400-page document and required news media all over the country to talk from his four pages,” Jack Quinn, Bill Clinton's White House counsel, told Power Up. “He totally controlled the narrative and I suspect that this is of a piece with what he is going to do [today] . . . He wants to shape your coverage and have you talk about what he says about the report — not what the report said about other things,” Quinn added.
- “Just let us read it,” a Democratic House aide told Power Up. But the aide added that Democrats have a vested interested in seeing the whole report ASAP.
- More: “We need time to figure out what’s in this thing. Members have put a lot of equity that there is some damning [expletive] in it. From the perspective of Democrats, there is no one way or the other — this could go in a lot of different directions. So jumping the gun on this doesn't make sense, we need to read it and digest it. It's not advantageous to try and beat the other side to the message.”
Democrats' frustrations were perhaps best summed up by this tweet from House Democratic Caucus Chair Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.):
So-called Attorney General is presiding over a dog and pony show.— Hakeem Jeffries (@RepJeffries) April 17, 2019
Here is a thought.
Release the Mueller report tomorrow morning and keep your mouth shut.
You have ZERO credibility.https://t.co/fKFeexUKkX
On The Hill
Another reality about the release: The world's attention may be on Washington, but most of official Washington is well ... out in the world. We are in the middle of Congress's two-week recess for Easter and Passover, and D.C.and Northern Virginia public schools are on spring break. So where is everyone?
Here are just a few places -- some more exotic than others -- where your elected officials might be getting their first glimpse of Mueller's report:
- Africa: Sens. Chris Coons (D-Del.), Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Lindsey Graham (R-S.C), Senate Republican Conference Chair John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) and Rep. Michael McCaul, the ranking member on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, are on their way back after meeting up briefly with White House adviser Ivanka Trump's four-day tour.
- Northern Ireland: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), House Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal (D-Mass.) and eight other House lawmakers are in Northern Ireland today, after holding high-level discussions in London and Dublin and visiting U.S. European and Africa military commands based in Stuttgart, Germany.
- South Korea and Vietnam: Nine senators are the middle of a 10-day tour through those two countries. Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), the 2016 Democratic vice presidential nominee, is among those on trip.
- Armenia: The House Democracy Partnership, a bipartisan group of lawmakers focused on working with legislatures around the world, is in the midst of a trip there. Rep. Mike Conaway (R-Texas), who mostly led the House Intelligence Committee's probe into Russian interference after Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) recused himself, is on the trip along with eight of his colleagues.
- Pelosi, per a spokesperson: “Where she reads the report will depend on the timing of its release. I anticipate that she’ll confer with the relevant Chairmen, Leadership Members and staff upon reading it, as well as engage the Democratic Caucus about the findings.”
- A House GOP aide: “We have a pretty good idea of what angles the Democrats will take (expecting them to criticize redactions and sell an obstruction argument), and not preparing a ton of rapid response since we already know the principal conclusions, so beyond that it’s a game of wait and see.”
- A Senate GOP aide, who complained about the anticipated color-coding related to redactions: “I’ll let you read it and then I’ll read your reporting on it,” the aide said.
- “I'll be getting the tallest cup of Dolcezza coffee, watch the 9:30 interpretation of it, and then sit down with the boss and our legislative director and get ready to read,” a House Democratic aide told us.
- George Papadopoulos: “I will be enjoying a nice cup of coffee in my home at 6:30 a.m. Pacific time and will have the Tv on waiting for Barr’s comments," the former Trump campaign adviser and author of Deep State Target said to Power Up. “I’m looking forward to exposing the spy role of Joseph Mifsud, Alexander Downer and Stefan Halper." (This has not been substantiated).
- Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), per a spokesman: “We're focused on the business of our country and our district — our staff is too. We'll read the report when it comes out and respond accordingly, but we know there was no collusion. We're ready to move on.”
- Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.): “I will read what becomes publicly available as time allows while I am in my district, but I will continue to insist that the full report be made available to both taxpayers and the Congress, so we can make our informed decisions on the complete findings of Special Counsel Mueller and his team.”
- The Post's book critic and Pulitzer winner Carlos Lozada:
- “I’m going to read it in the newsroom. Boring, I know! Normally I would read it in a hammock at home but I prefer to read it on paper and if I’m going to print out 400 pages, I’ll do that at The Post."
- “In part, I want to think of it as a book. This is one of the most anticipated documents of recent years, so I want to consider it as a piece of writing, and think about the structure and build-up and voice, and also look for what is overtly argued vs. what is left unsaid. Also, I’ve recently read and written about several past special prosecutor reports (Watergate, Iran-contra, Starr report) so I want to see how the Mueller Report stacks up. They’ve written it for us today, but, like it or not, they’re also writing for history.”
- The Post's Matt Zapotosky, our DOJ beat reporter:
- Where: “Probably at the Justice Department, where I'll be covering the press conference!”
- What he's looking for: “What does Mueller say on the question of obstruction? The attorney general effectively said he punted on that question, but why? Was the evidence just not there? Was it complicated legally in some way? . . . How does this reflect on Barr's four-page letter? Clearly, a nearly 400-page report is going to have so much more detail that a four-page letter can't completely capture. But will anything in the report raise questions about whether Barr's letter was misleading in any way? What did Trump's aides say about the president, and could any get in hot water in their jobs because of what they told Mueller's team?"
- POLITICO's Josh Gerstein, who covers legal affairs:
- Where: “At DOJ with the other DOJ beat reporters in whatever forum we are permitted to read it.”
- What he's looking for: “Beyond the obvious things on collusion and obstruction, I’m hoping it contains a copy of or summary of the Rosenstein memos laying out the scope of the investigation, or some other accounting of matters Mueller examined and resolved or handed off to other prosecutors. If that portion isn’t fully redacted, it could provide some surprises and some insight into the legal issues that will continue to dog Trump world long after Mueller has faded from view."
Outside the Beltway? Philip Bump's “Normal Person's Guide to the Mueller Report” is a good place to start.
In case you don't want to read 400 pages on your own, VICE News has you covered:
The Mueller Report.— VICE News (@vicenews) April 17, 2019
We're going to read it.
YOUR NON-MUELLER NEWS IN UNDER FIVE MINUTES:
- North Korea tests a new weapon: Pyongyang claimed on Thursday that it tested “a new tactical guided weapon, in its first public weapons test since the breakdown of a summit between President Trump and Kim Jong Un in February.” More from Simon Denyer and John Hudson.
- Pyongyang wants Secretary of State Mike Pompeo removed from deadlocked negotations, per the Associated Press's Foster Klug and Kim Tong-Hyung.
- McAuliffe OUT: Former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) ruled out a 2020 presidential campaign Wednesday night, saying, “my heart was with Virginia” and his focus will be on this year’s state house races. More from Laura Vozzella and Annie Linskey.
- Bolton signals harsher Cuba policy: national security adviser John Bolton unveiled new sanctions on Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua during a speech in front of veterans of the 1961 Bay of Pigs Invasion. “The heaviest measures were directed at Cuba.” More from Karen DeYoung.
- Rick Perry is making moves: The former Texas governor and current energy secretary is planning to leave the Trump administration. But according to Bloomberg, which broke the story, his exit “isn’t imminent and one person familiar with the matter said the former Texas governor still hasn’t fully made up his mind.” More from Bloomberg’s Jennifer Jacobs, Jennifer A Dlouhy and Ari Natter.
- The Redskins are “good”?: That is, at least according to President Trump, who made an appearance on D.C. talk radio yesterday gushed about the team’s owner Daniel Snyder. (The team finished 7-9 last season, last made the playoffs in 2015 and last won a playoff game in 2006). But hey, the schedule for this year is out now. More from Des Bieler.
> A good day for a quick read: Robert Mueller by Sally Yates in Time Magazine.
> Important: HUD Moves to Limit Public Housing Aid for Undocumented Immigrants. By Annie Karni and Michael Shear.
- “The Trump administration proposed a rule on Wednesday night intended to prevent undocumented immigrants from receiving federal housing assistance, the latest step in its efforts to ramp up enforcement of the nation’s immigration laws,” Annie and Michael report.
“The proposal, according to an administration official, is intended to overturn what the official described as a Clinton-era loophole that allowed some undocumented immigrants to obtain public housing without revealing their citizenship status. The rule would ensure that the social safety net is awarded only to verified American citizens and legal residents. The long waiting lists for public housing prompted the crackdown, the official said, adding that the rule would affect about 25,000 households.”
What is great news?: Jeopardy Host Alex Trebek says he's "feeling good" while undergoing treatment for cancer: