With the release of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on his investigation into possible collusion between the Donald Trump campaign and Russia in the 2016 presidential election expected soon, Trump, on Friday, was asked for his views regarding the upcoming report. According to NBC News, Trump said that unless Mueller clears him of collusion with Russia, the report will not be “honest.”
“It’s one of the greatest hoaxes ever perpetrated on this country,” Trump said, referring to the Mueller-led investigation. “So I look forward to seeing the report. If it’s an honest report, it will say that. If it’s not an honest report it won’t.”
Trump, in an Oval Office impromptu press gathering, also again said that there was “no collusion” during the campaign, repeating the phrase that he has used dozens, perhaps hundreds of times in public statements, including 66 times on his Twitter account alone, according to a Trump Twitter Archive count.
“You know the nice part,” Trump said. “There was no collusion. There was no obstruction. There was no anything. So that’s the nice part. There was no phone calls, no nothing.” Trump added that he had not yet spoken to newly installed U.S. Attorney General William Barr about the anticipated Mueller report, which, according to a CNN report on Wednesday, was expected to be turned in by Mueller to Barr “as early as next week.”
But on Friday, a Justice Department official denied the earlier CNN report, saying that the Mueller report will not, in fact, be delivered next week, according to NBC News. The unidentified official called the earlier reports saying that Mueller would submit the report on his findings to Barr sometime during the week of February 25 “incorrect.”
Trump is scheduled to travel to Vietnam next week, where he will meet for a second time with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
“It’s not surprising that they would not issue a report while the president is in Vietnam engaged in high-stakes international diplomacy,” said a person “close to the administration,” as quoted by the news agency Reuters.
But according to a CNN report on Friday, a Justice Department official who confirmed that the Mueller report will not be presented to Barr next week did not give a reason why the report would not be issued at that time, nor did the official say when the report would be submitted to Barr.
NBC News had reported in December that the Mueller report may be completed and submitted “as soon as mid-February.”