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Rep. Chris Stewart to see more of Mueller report than public, most members of Congress

By Dennis Romboy, KSL | Posted - Apr. 17, 2019 at 9:09 p.m.

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SALT LAKE CITY — Rep. Chris Stewart will be among members of Congress who receive a less-redacted version of special counsel Robert Mueller's report due to be released Thursday.

The Utah Republican said there will be redactions that protect sources and methods, but as a member of the House Intelligence Committee he would have access to that information.

"On the other side of that, grand jury information should always be protected, even from any member of Congress, and we wouldn't have access to that," he said.

The Justice Department revealed in a Wednesday court filing in the Roger Stone case the once the redacted report is released to the public, a limited number of members of Congress and their staffs would receive a report without certain redactions. Stone is President Donald Trump's longtime friend and political adviser who faces charges of obstruction of an official proceeding, making false statements and witness tampering.

The Justice Department is scheduled to release a redacted version of the nearly 400-page report Thursday morning.

Attorney General William Barr and Deputy Attorney General Ron Rosenstein, who led the investigation after Mueller was appointed in May 2017, will hold a press conference to discuss the release.

Stewart said his staff as well as the Intelligence Committee staff is poised to dive into the report.

"We obviously want to understand it and understand it very quickly," he said. "It's going to take us more than five minutes … but we intend to spend a lot of time on it."

Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, had a terse reply when asked about the report Wednesday.

"I look forward to seeing it. I don't know what’s in it. Haven’t seen it. Know almost nothing about it. Certainly look forward to reading it. I wish I could give you a better prediction than that," he told reporters at the Amazon fulfillment center opening.

Stewart said he's confident there won't be any bombshells in the report.

"I just find it really unlikely that we would find something there that would shock people," said the four-term congressman who launched his re-election bid Wednesday.

Utah Republican members of Congress hailed snippets of the report Barr made public last month, including that Trump's presidential campaign didn't conspire with the Russian government to interfere in the 2016 election.

Barr wrote that he and Rosenstein concluded that the evidence developed in the investigation is not sufficient enough to establish that Trump committed obstruction of justice.

“The special counsel states that ‘while this report does not conclude that the president committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him,’” Barr wrote.

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Stewart said "there's no way in the world" Barr whitewashed what he made public in March.

"He knew he was going to release the report in a couple weeks," he said. "It would have made no sense at for him to not be accurate in how he characterized this."

Stewart said he expects Democrats, who have been "vested in the this story and have been for a couple of years," to look to "exaggerate" part of the report to hurt Trump.

"They're certainly going to mull through that and try to find something that's embarrassing or negative towards the president and the administration or his family," he said. "I don't think that some of those people are just going to give this up without dragging this one for a little longer, maybe even a lot longer."

Contributing: Art Raymond

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