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By Allan Smith
President Donald Trump said in a CBS News interview that aired Sunday that he isn’t sure if he wants special counsel Robert Mueller’s report to be made public.
The president was asked by “Face the Nation” anchor Margaret Brennan if he would have a problem with the report being released publicly.
“That’s totally up to to the attorney general,” Trump said. “I don’t know. It depends. I have no idea what it’s going to say.”
“So far this thing’s been a total witch hunt,” Trump continued. “And it doesn’t implicate me in any way. There was no collusion. There was no obstruction. There was no nothing. Doesn’t implicate me in any way, but I think it’s a disgrace.”
Trump’s nominee for attorney general, William Barr, said at his confirmation hearing last month that while special counsel regulations require Mueller to submit a report to the Justice Department, what the public eventually sees might simply be a report from the attorney general on Mueller’s conclusions.
The acting attorney general, Matt Whitaker, said last week that he thinks Mueller is close to wrapping up his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia. If the attorney general opts not to make the report public, Congress could try to subpoena it or compel administration officials to testify about its findings.
Mueller has secured convictions or guilty pleas from a number of top Trump campaign officials, such as former campaign manager Paul Manafort and ex-national security adviser Michael Flynn. Manafort was convicted of several counts of tax and bank fraud, and Flynn pleaded guilty to making false statements to the FBI and has cooperated with investigators.
Last month, Mueller arrested longtime Trump associate Roger Stone on charges of obstruction, witness tampering and making false statements to Congress. Mueller has also charged Russian nationals with crimes stemming from his probe of Russian interference in the 2016 election.
Trump told “Face the Nation” that “many” of the Russians charged by Mueller “were bloggers from Moscow or they were people that had nothing to do with me, had nothing to do with what they’re talking about or there were people that got caught telling a fib or telling a lie.”
Pointing to Stone, Trump said he “didn’t work on the campaign” except at its onset. The president said he hasn’t thought about pardoning Stone.
“It looks like he’s defending himself very well,” Trump said. “But you have to get rid of the Russia witch hunt, because it is indeed.”
“Remember this. Remember this,” Trump added. “There’s been no president that has been tougher on Russia than Donald Trump.”
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Trump snubs John McCain during bill signing intended to honor him
WASHINGTON — Congress wanted to honor the ailing Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. President Donald Trump did not.
In extended remarks during a visit to Fort Drum in upstate New York to sign the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019 — this year’s version of an annual bill that sets defense policy — Trump chose not to mention the former prisoner of war and Senate Armed Services Committee chairman who is battling brain cancer. He even omitted McCain’s name when citing the title of the bill.
The two men have long been fierce critics of each other, with McCain calling Trump’s supporters “crazies” in 2015 and Trump retaliating by questioning whether McCain, who was subjected to torture in a Vietnamese prison camp, is really a “war hero” because “he was captured.”
The snub at Fort Drum, home to the combat aviation brigade of the Army’s 10th Mountain Division, did not escape the notice of McCain’s allies.
“For those asking did I expect Trump to be an a—— today. No more than I expected it to be Monday,” Mark Salter, McCain’s longtime aide, wrote on Twitter.
McCain’s condition — dire enough that a recent HBO documentary on him was titled “John McCain: For Whom the Bell Tolls” — has not stopped Trump from deriding the Arizona senator at political rallies. Though Trump does not use his name, he tells crowds that he would have been able to repeal Obamacare if not for a thumbs-down sign from one senator — McCain.
The senator’s own statement included Trump’s name in the headline and in a preamble written by staff. But the words attributed to McCain did not.
“I’m very proud that the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019 has been signed into law,” he said.
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