Right now, it’s really just Robert Mueller, Attorney General William Barr, and tight-lipped aides from both camps that know what’s inside the headline-grabbing Mueller Report, which details the special counsel’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.
Even President Trump himself, who has loudly and frequently characterized the entire investigation as a politically-motivated witch hunt, does not yet know what is revealed in the report’s pages. But even so, as a matter of political strategy, Trump and his team have been actively working for months to prepare for all possible outcomes when (and if) the report is eventually released, as POLITICO reports based on conversations with three sources close to the preparations.
Perhaps not surprisingly, the president’s Twitter account will be a powerful tactic, regardless of the outcome of the report. If Mueller’s report clears the president of any personal wrongdoing, the sources say, Trump will be able to tweet out in vindication. If the report is incriminating, the platform can be used to attack the investigation, Democrats, and Mueller personally.
The same will be true of Trump’s campaign rally-like appearances across the country, where sympathetic supporters are sure to enthusiastically respond to his framing, or reframing, of the report’s findings.
In either case, it will be hard for the president to react until more details arrive as to the actual findings of the report. Meanwhile, according to The Washington Post, senior White House officials have been sure to stick close to the president in an effort to provide comfort during this tense waiting period and make Trump “less likely to do something rash.”
The president, in fact, has been uncharacteristically quiet on the matter since the announcement that the report had been delivered to Barr, with no mention of the report during public appearances and his usually active Twitter account silent.
— CBS News (@CBSNews) March 24, 2019
Still, Trump’s allies remain active in preparing for the variety of possible outcomes of the investigation, planning message strategies and counteroffensives appropriate for a number of scenarios. Rudy Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer, has said that he and his team have created an 85-page report that would combat Mueller’s report if the findings were critical.
“We have a plan as his private lawyers,” Giuliani said.
“We have a big long report, which if it comes out OK, we don’t use. If it comes out in part good and in part bad, then we’ll use some of it. I think we’ve thought of all the alternatives…. Right now I think we can react pretty quickly. We’ve been thinking about it for three months, five months.”
Giuliani went on to say that it is the job of the White House to protect the reputation of the presidency and the president. To what extent that protection will be necessary shall remain to be seen.