On Thursday, Robert Mueller’s highly anticipated 400-page report on the Russia investigation is slated to drop. But as far as Donald Trump and his associates are concerned, it will be just another weekday. Even as speculation has built that Team Mueller was unsatisfied with Attorney General Bill Barr’s summary of the report, Trump allies remain confident—serene, even—in their belief that the fuller version will only help their case ahead of 2020.
To them, Mueller’s top-line finding of “no collusion” was the only finding that mattered on March 24, when Barr released his summary, and will be the only finding that matters on Thursday and beyond. According to Barr, Mueller was unable to reach a conclusion on obstruction one way or the other, meaning it’s likely that the full report could bring to bear some unsavory details about Trump’s conduct in office. But even that prospect doesn’t worry those close to the president, who say that when it comes to which party might benefit the most from Mueller’s findings in the next presidential election, they’ve already won.
Memories are short, say Trump allies, who are betting that when the general-election campaign rolls around, the Mueller report may well seem either just another murky tale in a multiyear string of controversies—the travel ban, the government shutdown, the immigration fights—or, better yet, evidence of how Washington “elites,” from Democrats to the media, have tried but failed to take down the president.