White House lawyers have reportedly had "numerous" discussions with Justice Department officials about the findings of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation, The New York Times reported.
Reports of these conversations surfaced shortly after reports that President Donald Trump was preparing a rebuttal to presumed findings in the report related to obstruction of justice. The redacted Mueller report is set to be released Thursday, with Attorney General William Barr having scheduled a press conference after the release to discuss it.
From The New York Times:
Justice Department officials have had numerous conversations with White House lawyers about the conclusions made by Mr. Mueller, the special counsel, in recent days, according to people with knowledge of the discussions. The talks have aided the president's legal team as it prepares a rebuttal to the report and strategizes for the coming public war over its findings.
What should we expect after the report is released?
Was Barr's letter accurate? The first thing most observers will be looking for from the approximately 400-page report is whether the content of the report matches up with what Barr wrote in his four-page letter to Congress after the attorney general had reviewed it along with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.
While Mueller did not draw an explicit conclusion about potential obstruction of justice, Barr wrote that he and Rosenstein determined, based on Mueller's evidence, that there was not cause to charge President Trump with obstruction. Mueller did clear the president of accusations that his campaign colluded with Russia.
Anonymous reports published by The New York Times claimed that Mueller team members believe the report to be more damaging to the president than Barr portrayed.
Who said what to who? The Times also reported that the pending release of Mueller's report has created some anxiety among people in the Trump administration who fear they could face retaliation for what they told Mueller's team for the investigation:
The report might make clear which of Mr. Trump's current and former advisers spoke to the special counsel, how much they said and how much damage they did to the president — providing a kind of road map for retaliation.