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Mueller report: Barr will discuss interactions with White House, executive privilege

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By Julia Ainsley and Allan Smith  with NBC News Politics
Image: William Barr
Attorney General William Barr leaves his home in McLean, Virginia on April 17, 2019.   -   Copyright  Sait Serkan Gurbuz AP

Attorney General William Barr will address recent interactions between the Justice Department and the White House regarding special counsel Robert Mueller's report during his Thursday press conference, according to the Justice Department.

Barr will also discuss executive privilege and the redactions process, spokeswoman Kerri Kupec told NBC News. She declined to comment on whether the attorney general would address his review of the investigation's origins.

Barr's press conference on the nearly 400-page report on Russian meddling in the 2016 election, whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russian officials and if Trump obstructed justice, will precede the release of a redacted version of Mueller's report. That has infuriated critics who say Barr is trying to spin the report before lawmakers, the media and public can see it in order to help President Donald Trump.

The press conference is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. The report will be made available to members of Congress after 11 a.m. and will also be posted to the special counsel's website.

On Wednesday, The New York Times reported that Justice Department officials held "numerous conversations with White House lawyers" in recent days about Mueller's conclusions. People with knowledge of the discussions told The Times that the talks "aided the president's legal team as it prepares a rebuttal to the report and strategizes for the coming public war over its findings."

The Washington Post, meanwhile, reported Wednesday that the report will be "lightly redacted" and will offer "granular" details into how Trump was suspected of obstructing justice, people familiar with the matter told the outlet.

Trump was tweeting early Thursday ahead of the Mueller report's release, writing, "PRESIDENTIAL HARASSMENT!"

"The Greatest Political Hoax of all time!" Trump wrote in a separate tweet. "Crimes were committed by Crooked, Dirty Cops and DNC/The Democrats."

At a Wednesday night news conference, House Judiciary chairman Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., said the timing of the release was troubling and "wrong."

"The central concern here is that Attorney General Barr is not letting the facts of the report speak for themselves, but is trying to bake in the narrative about the report to the benefit of the White House," he told reporters.