Reprinted with permission from Alternet.
Officials in the Justice Department have had “numerous” conversations with President Donald Trump’s lawyers in the White House about the forthcoming report from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, a new report from the New York Times revealed Wednesday.
With this information about the report that is still sealed from public view, Trump’s lawyers have already begun crafting a response to the report, the Times found.
A redacted version of Mueller’s report is expected to come out Thursday morning.
Attorney General Bill Barr has already been widely criticized for his handling the end of the Mueller investigation, creating more questions and controversies than he has resolved.
“The discussions between Justice Department officials and White House lawyers have also added to questions about the propriety of the decisions by Attorney General William P. Barr since he received the Mr. Mueller’s findings late last month,” the Times noted.
“They are just violating every cardinal rule for what DOJ will discuss with the WH,” said former Justice Department spokesman Matthew Miller of the Times’ report. “Barr is actually behaving with less integrity than Jeff Sessions.”
In principle, the Justice Department and the FBI, in particular, are supposed to operate at arms-length from the president, to preserve the distance between the political branch of the government and those in charge of maintaining the rule of law. However, since taking office, Trump has repeatedly worked to control investigations that encircle him and to encourage investigations of his enemies.
Trump’s effort to quash the Russia investigation was what compelled the appointment of a special counsel in the first place — and the fact that Barr is permitting an overly cozy relationship between the Justice Department and White House further casts doubt on the attorney general’s credibility.