Trump cites tax cuts over judges as having biggest impact of his presidency
Trump says public can see Mueller report
President Trump on Wednesday said special counsel Robert Mueller's final report on the Russia investigation should be made public, expressing confidence it will prove he did not collude with Moscow's effort to interfere in the 2016 election.
"Let it come out. Let people see it," Trump told reporters on the South Lawn of the White House before traveling to Ohio for a speech and a campaign fundraiser.
But Trump also said the decision whether to release Mueller's report rests with Attorney General William Barr, who has been coy about how much of the special counsel's findings he will make public.
"We'll see what happens," the president said. "Let's see whether or not it's legit."
Mueller is compiling a report on the investigation's findings, including whether the Trump campaign coordinated with Russia's election-meddling activities and if the president sought to obstruct the probe.
The report will first be submitted to Barr, who is facing pressure from Democrats and Republicans in Congress to release the full version to the public.
Barr was noncommittal about such a release, telling lawmakers during his January confirmation hearing that his goal is "to provide as much transparency as I can consistent with the law."
The Justice Department order appointing Mueller as special counsel directs him to deliver to the attorney general "a confidential report explaining the prosecution or declination decisions reached." It would then be up to Barr to decide how much information to provide to Congress and the public.
The House last week passed a non-binding resolution by a vote of 420-0 calling on the Mueller report to be made available to lawmakers and the public. The Senate has yet to pass the measure.
"I don't mind," Trump said when asked if the public has a right to see the report. "I mean, frankly, I told the House, if you want, let 'em see it."
Trump said he does not know when Mueller will issue his final report.
Speculation has swirled in Washington that the Russia investigation is winding down, but Mueller has given no specific indication when he will conclude his work.
Trump railed against the legitimacy of the Mueller investigation but suggested that allowing people to see the report may convince them of his argument that the probe should have never occurred.
"I had the greatest electoral victory, one of them, in the history of our country," Trump said. "Tens of millions of voters, and now somebody is going to write a report who never got a vote. So we'll see what the report says. Let's see if it's fair."
Trump repeated his belief that Mueller is "conflicted," saying his "best friend" is former FBI Director James Comey, whom Trump fired in May 2017.
Comey's firing, which Trump later said he carried out while thinking about the Russia investigation, triggered the appointment of Mueller later that month.
Mueller served as FBI director while Comey held several senior positions as the Justice Department before succeeding him as leader of the nation's top law enforcement agency, but the two men are not said to have a close personal friendship.
- Updated 2:50 p.m.