Politics

Trump says he told House GOP to 'play along' on Mueller report vote

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President Donald Trump on Saturday said he encouraged House Republicans to vote in favor of a resolution calling on the Justice Department to make Robert Mueller’s final report public — despite tweeting a day earlier that the special counsel “should never have been appointed” and that “there should be no Mueller Report.”

The House on Thursday overwhelmingly approved in a 420-0 vote the measure urging Attorney General William Barr to release the entirety of Mueller’s findings and make them available to Congress. The resolution was blocked by Republicans in the Senate.

“On the recent non-binding vote (420-0) in Congress about releasing the Mueller Report, I told leadership to let all Republicans vote for transparency,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “Makes us all look good and doesn’t matter. Play along with the game!”

The president last month said he was unsure whether he would be opposed to releasing Mueller’s report, and that he would defer to the attorney general’s judgment. But Trump took a harder line on Friday, dismissing the special counsel’s work as “an illegal & conflicted investigation in search of a crime.”

“[T]he Special Counsel … should never have been appointed and there should be no Mueller Report,” he tweeted, adding: “THIS SHOULD NEVER HAPPEN TO A PRESIDENT AGAIN!”

During his Senate confirmation hearings in January, Barr did not commit to making Mueller’s report public but pledged to release as much of the special counsel’s findings as possible. Barr has also been attacked by Democrats for a memorandum he wrote to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein last year criticizing Mueller’s investigation.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) has threatened to issue a subpoena for the Mueller report if Barr does not release it to Congress and the public, and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) has said he is prepared to call the special counsel to testify before lawmakers.

But the only lawmaker the president directly assailed online on Saturday was the late Sen. John McCain, who died last August after a battle with brain cancer. The president trashed the Arizona Republican for passing along to former FBI Director James Comey in December 2016 a dossier compiled by ex-British intelligence officer Christopher Steele that detailed alleged ties between Trump and Russia.

“Spreading the fake and totally discredited Dossier ‘is unfortunately a very dark stain against John McCain,’” Trump wrote on Twitter, appearing to quote former Clinton independent counsel Kenneth Starr.

Article originally published on POLITICO Magazine

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