When the Department of Justice told the media earlier this week that it was expecting Special Counsel Robert Mueller to file his report about Donald Trump as soon as next week, the big question was who had made that decision. Some assumed new Attorney General William Barr had told Mueller he had to finish up his work and file a report next week. Palmer Report pointed out that, realistically, it wasn’t really Barr’s decision. Now Mueller is reminding everyone that he’s the one driving this train.
CNN and MSNBC are reporting this afternoon that Robert Mueller won’t be turning in his report about Donald Trump next week after all. When is it coming? The week after next? Next month? No one knows. But the point is this: if Barr had taken office and demanded that Mueller turn in a report next week, then Mueller felt he had to go along with it, he’d be turning in a report next week.
It’s not yet clear if Robert Mueller was planning to voluntarily turn in his report next week and something additional came up at the last minute, or if this was merely a false story planted by Team Trump to try to put pressure on Mueller to hurry up. But the mere fact that it’s not happening next week after all? That’s a clear indicator that it’ll happen whenever Robert Mueller decides he’s ready to make it happen.
In any case, this tells us that William Barr isn’t running this show. Robert Mueller is. Maybe Barr is working in league with his old friend Mueller, maybe not. We’ll see. But Mueller realistically holds all the leverage here. He always has. William Barr, Matt Whitaker, and anyone else brought in by Donald Trump all have one thing in common: they don’t have a magic wand for making Mueller fall through a trap door.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report