President Trump on Saturday backed bipartisan calls in Congress for FBI Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report into Russian interference in the 2016 election to be made public.
“Play along with the game!” the president told Republicans.
“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,” he tweeted. "Makes us all look good and doesn’t matter.”
The House voted on Thursday in support of a nonbinding resolution to encourage Attorney General William Barr to release the report, amid continuing concerns in some quarters that it won't be made public. Four Republican lawmakers voted present.
Since the measure is nonbinding, Mueller, Barr and Trump cannot be forced to release more information to Congress and the public than the Justice Department and federal law require. Republicans were quick to point out – despite their support for the resolution – that because the resolution does not have the force of law, it had little sway over whether or not the report is released to the public.
Some Democrats have expressed concern that the administration may seek to keep the report under wraps, with Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., claiming that Barr indicated he'd exploit legal "loopholes" to hide Mueller's final report from the public and resist subpoenas against the White House.
"I will commit to providing as much information as I can, consistent with the regulations," Barr told Blumenthal during his confirmation hearing in February, when asked if he would ensure that Mueller's full report would be subject to public review.
While Trump has been open to the report being released, it has not stopped him from continuing to be critical of the investigation as a whole — calling the probe “illegal” and “conflicted” as recently as Friday. He also repeated his assertions that there was no collusion between his 2016 campaign and Moscow to affect the outcome of the presidential contest.
“So, if there was knowingly & acknowledged to be ‘zero’ crime when the Special Counsel was appointed, and if the appointment was made based on the Fake Dossier (paid for by Crooked Hillary) and now disgraced Andrew McCabe (he & all stated no crime), then the Special Counsel should never have been appointed and there should be no Mueller Report,” Trump tweeted Friday morning.
“This was an illegal & conflicted investigation in search of a crime. Russian Collusion was nothing more than an excuse by the Democrats for losing an Election that they thought they were going to win,” he continued. “THIS SHOULD NEVER HAPPEN TO A PRESIDENT AGAIN!”
Whenever Mueller does submit his report, Barr will review it and is expected to create his own report explaining the findings to Republican and Democratic leaders of the Senate and House Judiciary Committees.
The attorney general is ultimately the official who decides what, if anything, in the report can become public.
Fox News; Brooke Singman and Andrew O'Reilly contributed to this report.