President Donald Trump on Wednesday told reporters he doesn’t understand why special counsel Robert Mueller is writing a report, but that he wants the general public to see it anyway.
“I have no idea when it’s going to be released,” the president said of the highly anticipated report, which Mueller will submit to Attorney General William Barr at the conclusion of his investigation into Russian election interference and Trump. “It’s interesting that a man gets appointed by a deputy, he writes a report, uh, you know, never figured that one out. Man gets appointed by a deputy, he writes a report.”
He asked reporters on the White House South Lawn to “explain” why Mueller gets to write a report “because my voters don’t get it and I don’t get it.”
“At the same time, let it come out, let people see it,” Trump said. “That’s up to the attorney general. We have a very good attorney general, he’s a highly respected man. And we’ll see what happens. But it’s sort of interesting that a man out of the blue just writes a report.”
“But I want to see the report,” he said. “And you know who I want to see it? The tens of millions of people that love the fact that we have the greatest economy we’ve ever had.”
Trump, who is on his way to Lima, Ohio, where he will speak at a tank plant, insisted Wednesday there was “no collusion” with Russia and “no obstruction” of Mueller’s investigation.
“There was no nothing,” he said. “But it’s sort of an amazing thing that when you have a great victory, somebody comes in, does a report nowhere, tell me how that makes sense?”
Mueller was appointed under the special counsel regulations and tasked with investigating Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian officials. The legality of his hiring was upheld by multiple federal judges, including one who is Trump-appointed.
The special counsel was hired after Trump fired former FBI Director James Comey in May 2017, a firing the administration first said was because of Comey’s handling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server as secretary of state, only for Trump to tell NBC News in an interview that the FBI’s Russia investigation was part of his calculus.
Mueller is also probing whether Trump sought to obstruct justice by firing Comey and others.
As his investigation reaches the nearly two-year mark, Mueller has secured convictions of top Trump officials like campaign chairman Paul Manafort and former national security adviser Michael Flynn. However, the special counsel has yet to make a direct allegation of collusion.
Flynn is awaiting sentencing after he pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about conversations he had during the presidential transition in 2016 with then-Russian ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak. Though Manafort was sentenced this month to a total of more than 7 years in prison, none of the charges against him involved his work on the Trump campaign in 2016, and they have nothing to do with Mueller’s main task as special counsel — to discover whether anyone in the U.S. was helping Russia interfere in the election.
Top deputies have recently left Mueller’s office, fueling speculation that the investigation is nearing its conclusion, which will include Mueller submitting a report to Barr.
The attorney general has not indicated whether he will make it public. House Democrats have already signaled they may subpoena the report, and possibly Mueller himself, to appear before Congress should Barr decide to keep the report private.