As Washington readies for Special Counsel Robert Mueller's full report to be released, President Trump has been looking for a distraction.
Attorney General William Barr said last month in a four-page brief to Congress that Mueller in his report did not establish a criminal conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia and did not make a conclusion about obstruction of justice. But a redacted version of the full report is expected to be released in the coming days.
The New York Times reports that, with this in mind, when Trump last week revived his idea of releasing detained immigrants into "sanctuary cities," it was intended, in part, "to distract from the report." The White House said in response to a Washington Post report about the proposal that it was rejected, but Trump contradicted that a day later by saying it's actually still under consideration.
Distracting from Mueller was evidently a part of this, with another part potentially being that Trump has been "purposefully escalating his language ... expressly to enliven his base of supporters and to enrage his political rivals and the news media."
The Times also reports Trump plans to dismiss the report when it's released and argue that it's "extraneous" to Barr's letter, having in recent days declared to journalists that "I don't care about the Mueller report," even as the Times writes that details in it could potentially "renew questions about the president's fitness for office." Brendan Morrow