Apr 18, 2019

Mueller report: What witnesses expect ahead of its release

Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

Mueller witnesses and their lawyers say that they expect the special counsel's report to include a mass of detailed scenes in which President Trump lashed out about Mueller, Jeff Sessions, Rod Rosenstein and the FBI.

The big picture: They believe that if Mueller's report presents the material in the same relentlessly detailed way as his prosecutors asked the questions, the accumulation could lead a casual observer to think that the president tried to obstruct justice.

  • These sources expect Don McGahn, the former White House counsel, to star in many of the crucial conversations that the Mueller team considered part of their exploration of whether Trump sought to obstruct justice. 

The bottom line: These sources don't know whether the scenes the Mueller team quizzed them about were included in the report. And, of course, they don't know what Attorney General Bill Barr redacted ahead of today's release.

  • And since Mueller punted on whether Trump obstructed justice, these sources don't expect a revelation that could threaten Trump's presidency.

Jay Sekulow, a lawyer for Trump, said: "We're going to respond as quickly as we can to you all during the day, probably multiple times. ... We'll try to get something up very quick."

  • I asked Sekulow whether there could be a surprise. "This is a situation where we know what the conclusion is," the lawyer replied.
  • "The aircraft landed safely, there was no damage to the equipment or injury to the passengers, and now two weeks later the NTSB issues a video of the landing."
  • "I'm not concerned," Sekulow added. "The inquiry is concluded."

Another lawyer involved in the Mueller probe said of the 9:30 a.m. Barr press conference that's scheduled to precede the release of the 400-page report:

  • "Gives him a chance to spin the process ... and gives him the opportunity to demonstrate the diligence that went into the redactions, and the law."
  • The greatest potential for surprise is "in the obstruction realm," this lawyer said, because "the collusion stuff is very definitive."

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 721,584 — Total deaths: 33,958 — Total recoveries: 149,122.
  2. U.S.: Leads the world in cases. Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 142,106 — Total deaths: 2,479 — Total recoveries: 2,686.
  3. Federal government latest: President Trump says his administration will extend its "15 Days to Slow the Spread" guidelines until April 30.
  4. Public health updates: Fauci says 100,000 to 200,000 Americans could die from virus.
  5. State updates: Louisiana governor says state is on track to exceed ventilator capacity by end of this week — Cuomo says Trump's mandatory quarantine comments "panicked" some people into fleeing New York
  6. World updates: Italy on Sunday reports 756 new deaths, bringing its total 10,779. Spain reports almost 840 dead, another new daily record that bring its total to over 6,500.
  7. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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World coronavirus updates: Cases surge past 720,000

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens and confirmed plus presumptive cases from the CDC

There are now more than 720,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus around the world, according to data from Johns Hopkins. The virus has now killed more than 33,000 people — with Italy alone reporting over 10,000 deaths.

The big picture: Governments around the world have stepped up public health and economic measures to stop the spread of the virus and soften the financial impact. In the U.S., now the site of the largest outbreak in the world, President Trump said Sunday that his administration will extend its "15 Days to Slow the Spread" guidelines until April 30.

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Trump says peak coronavirus deaths in 2 weeks, extends shutdown

Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

President Trump is extending his administration's "15 days to slow the spread" shutdown guidelines for an additional month in the face of mounting coronavirus infections and deaths and pressure from public health officials and governors.

Driving the news: With the original 15-day period that was announced March 16 about to end, officials around the country had been bracing for a premature call to return to normalcy from a president who's been venting lately that the prescription for containing the virus could be worse than the impacts of the virus itself.

Go deeperArrow3 hours ago - Health