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Trump says Mueller investigation report should be made public
[WASHINGTON] President Donald Trump said on Wednesday that Special Counsel Robert Mueller's final report on his campaign's possible collusion with Russia in the 2016 election should be made public.
But Mr Trump again questioned the grounds for the nearly two-year-old investigation, which is also examining whether the president himself criminally obstructed the probe.
With expectations rising that Mr Mueller will wrap up his operation within weeks after having already charged six Trump associates and over two dozen Russians, Mr Trump said that the secret report to be submitted to the Attorney General Bill Barr should be revealed to the public.
"If you want to let them see it, let them see it," Mr Trump told reporters.
Mr Trump questioned how Mr Mueller - a man "out of the blue" who "never got a vote" can be investigating him, given his victory in the 2016 election.
"I'm saying to myself, wait a minute, I just won one of the greatest elections of all time in the history of this country ... and I have somebody writing the report who never got a vote, called the Mueller report. Explain that," Mr Trump said.
"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."
Even so, that could be difficult. Under the rules of his May 2017 appointment, Mr Mueller, a former director of the FBI, is to submit to Mr Barr "a confidential report explaining the prosecution or declination decisions."
That report, experts say, is unlikely to be revealed in the raw - it could have confidential data on people not charged, as well as top secret information on sources.
But Mr Barr is also compelled to submit to Congress his own summary of the investigation, a report which could be made public.
Mr Barr, who was a critic of Mr Mueller before Mr Trump appointed him attorney general in February, would not have to be as detailed as Mr Mueller is.
He could possibly leave out information that might be damaging to individuals like Mr Trump, according to legal experts.
On the other hand, if Mr Mueller finds criminal behaviour by Mr Trump and believes the evidence strong enough to support an impeachment motion by Congress, he could, with Mr Barr's permission, write a separate report making that case.
An important question then is whether Mr Barr would permit that, and allow that report to be released.
Mr Trump has repeatedly branded the Mueller investigation an "illegal witch hunt" over the past two years and labelled his team of investigators politically biased.
While Mr Mueller has revealed little about how he views Mr Trump and his family as possible targets of the investigation, the president and the White House have stepped up their political campaign to undermine the legitimacy of the investigation.
"No collusion, no collusion," Mr Trump declared on Wednesday.
"I had the greatest electoral victory in the history of our country, one of them," he said.
"Tremendous success. Tens of millions of voters. Now somebody's going to write a report, who never got a vote."
"We will see what the report says. Let's see if it's fair."