As the White House spins Attorney General William Barr’s hastily drafted summary of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report into even more of a whitewash than the document warrants, Trump opponents have been diligent in pointing out the enormous leaps that his apologists have made in interpreting Barr’s words and the prosecutorial decisions he made on the president’s behalf.
In a tweet that echoed Trump’s own blatant lie about the conclusions contained in the full Mueller report, his White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders tweeted out an interpretation of the only indication we have to date of the contents of the report, Barr’s 4-page summary of its “principle conclusions.”
The Special Counsel did not find any collusion and did not find any obstruction. AG Barr and DAG Rosenstein further determined there was no obstruction. The findings of the Department of Justice are a total and complete exoneration of the President of the United States.”
— Sarah Sanders (@PressSec) March 24, 2019
While the single quotation mark at the end of the tweet makes it appear as if Sanders is repeating the words of some uncited source, her mischaracterization of even the already sanitized-for-his-protection summary compelled the never-Trump Republican Washington attorney George Conway — the husband of senior White House advisor Kellyanne Conway — to respond with a withering tweet exposing the depth of Sanders’ deceptive manipulation of the facts.
You misspelled “While this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.” Pls fix. Thx. https://t.co/hf8pldLmve
— George Conway (@gtconway3d) March 24, 2019
In quoting one of the few actual sentence fragments quoted directly from Mueller’s original report in the Attorney General’s letter that digested it for public consumption, Conway rips bare the fact that not only is the Trump administration severely distorting the results of the Special Counsel’s probe to their own benefit but it is trying to cover up whatever numerous mysteries that the report includes that have yet to be publicly revealed.
Without the full release of the report and its underlying evidentiary materials, the full scope of the president’s actions — including whatever led Mueller to fail to conclude that Trump engaged in criminal actions and what led him to say specifically that report does not exonerate the president — cannot be known by the general public and, more importantly, the Congress that could held him accountable.
With Conway no longer out of bounds from presidential attack as the husband of one his closest advisors, it’s good to see that the Twitter attacks from the president are not restricting the Trump antagonist from holding the administration accountable for its mendacious routine.
If — or, more likely, when — the full version of the Mueller report is released, whether in the next few weeks or in years to come, then we will get the true picture of what his team actually discovered and can determine whether the decisions regarding the available evidence actually warrant the lack of prosecution. Until then we can safely ignore the administration’s loudly proclaimed cries of vindication.
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Original reporting by Chris Mills Rodrigo at The Hill.