During his first congressional hearing since receiving special counsel Robert Mueller's report, Attorney General William Barr gave the public a preview of the Trump administration's spin once the report is finally released to the public.
Washington Post political columnist Paul Waldman wrote Tuesday that what's coming is "a public relations battle in which the attorney general is a key player."
"While 'coverup' might be too strong a word to describe what the administration is planning," Waldman mused, "what is clear is that they will be carefully managing the information the public gets to see in order to make sure that the narrative of President Trump’s supposed innocence prevails."
The columnist predicted that once Barr submits the report to Congress "within a week," it "will contain plenty of damaging information about the president and those around him" — but much of it will be redacted.
"Democrats, distrustful that all of Barr's redactions were truly necessary and were not made in part to protect Trump, will demand to at least have a select group of lawmakers review the unredacted report," Waldman added. "Barr will refuse."
In the meantime, Trump and his GOP allies will continue claiming that the Mueller report exonerates him — regardless of what's actually in it.
The president and his allies will then try to "repeat the extraordinary success they achieved when Barr’s letter was released, when newspaper headlines and TV news stories trumpeted that Mueller had essentially found Trump innocent," before members of the special counsel's team released a rare public statement refuting the AG's summary.
"Even if Mueller confirms that all of Barr’s redactions were justified, the redacted material could still contain deeply troubling, even scandalous information about what Trump and his associates did," Waldman wrote. "In fact, it almost certainly will."
The redactions may contain information "that would deepen our understanding of the scandal and make the full scope of the Trump team’s malfeasance clear."
"But we may never get to see it," the columnist warned.
Read the entire editorial via the Post.