It remains an open question how special counsel Robert Mueller’s report will fit into the plans of the nearly 20 Democrats running for president. Most spent the early days of their 2020 campaigns trying to steer the conversation away from collusion and impeachment and toward issues like health care and the economy—a strategy of restraint that appeared smart in light of Attorney General William Barr’s initial summary late last month. The White House hopefuls could take a more aggressive approach now that the public has seen the redacted version of the full report—and all the juicy and potentially damning details inside—or they may stay the course. Time will tell.
We will not, however, have to wait to see how team Trump tries to spin it to help the president’s reelection effort. Barr kicked things off Thursday with a pre-release press conference at which the nation’s top prosecutor acted like the president’s personal defense attorney. And the Trump campaign then took things considerably further in the hours following the release, suggesting that it was time to “investigate the investigators”—a group that apparently includes both those congressional Democrats currently investigating Trump and those officials who worked in the FBI and Justice Department under President Barack Obama.
First up was Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale, who released a statement that falsely claimed his boss had been “fully and completely exonerated” by the report:
President Trump has been fully and completely exonerated yet again. Now the tables have turned, and it’s time to investigate the liars who instigated this sham investigation into President Trump, motivated by political retribution and based on no evidence whatsoever. There is simply no denying that ‘spying did occur’ on the Trump campaign during the 2016 election, as Attorney General Barr himself noted in testimony before Congress. Barr went on to testify that there was a ‘failure among a group of leaders there at the upper echelon [of the FBI] … [and] I feel I have an obligation to make sure that government power is not abused.’ Now that the collusion and obstruction conspiracy theories have been exposed for the pathetic hoaxes they always were, the Obama-era DOJ and FBI must answer for their misdeeds and the scam that they perpetrated against the American people. Justice will be served.
And then came the campaign video, which included a montage of Democratic lawmakers like Nancy Pelosi and House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff, as well as news coverage of last months’ Barr memo:
None of this is new. Trump has been trying to blame Obama for the Russian interference for more than a year now, and he called for Schiff to resign last month. Still, it’s the latest evidence that the president’s campaign has no interest in talking about all the things Mueller and his team found, only what they didn’t.