Previously redacted portions of the report from Special Counsel Robert Mueller that Attorney General William Barr had hoped to keep hidden until after the November election have been released as the result of a Freedom of Information (FOIA) lawsuit, and they show that President Donald Trump likely lied under oath in the written responses he gave to questions from Mueller.
CNN and The Hill both report that the sections involve Trump’s responses to questions about WikiLeaks and longtime Trump confidant Roger Stone, and Mueller himself suggested that the president had misled investigators:
“According to the report, Trump had said he did not remember talking with Stone about WikiLeaks. But Trump’s former attorney, Michael Cohen, had separately recounted to Mueller that he ‘recalled a conversation in which Roger Stone told Trump that WikiLeaks planned to release information soon [and] Trump had asked him [Cohen] to stay in touch with Stone about WikiLeaks.'”
While the Special Counsel noted in his final report that Trump simply could have forgotten about contacts he had with Stone regarding WikiLeaks and the release of information that would be damaging to Hillary Clinton, he could also have tried to hide his knowledge because he knew it gave the appearance that he was part of the larger conspiracy:
“The President’s conduct could also be viewed as reflecting his awareness that Stone could provide evidence that would run counter to the President’s denials and would link the President to Stone’s efforts to reach out to WikiLeaks.”
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said the newly unredacted portions of Mueller’s report make it clear that Barr and the White House wanted the revelations to remain hidden because they do incriminate the president and attorney general:
Here’s why this matters:
Stone told Trump and his campaign in advance about WikiLeaks’ planned release of Clinton emails Russia stole.
Trump publicly welcomed and made full use of that help.
Later, it appears Trump lied about it to Mueller.
No wonder they kept this hidden. https://t.co/XwHKFsW25S
— Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) June 20, 2020
Why didn’t Mueller charge Trump with perjury? Because he was prohibited from doing so by a Department of Justice memo which states a sitting president cannot be indicted or charged with a crime. But the second Trump is out of office, any U.S. Attorney or a new attorney general can bring that and other charges against Trump. So while the president may have managed to avoid criminal charges so far, all he’s really done is kick the can down the road.
As many have suspected, Barr and Trump knew that if the full report from Special Counsel Mueller was made public, it would probably have destroyed Trump and led to more articles of impeachment being drawn up against him.
But the law isn’t finished with Donald Trump or William Barr. And karma will eventually come back visit them both.