As the rest of Washington settled in to what’s likely to be several days of rumblings over the recently concluded special counsel probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election, President Donald Trump spent Saturday at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, doing something very uncharacteristic: not tweeting.
Against the backdrop of considerable speculation about the contents and meaning of special counsel Robert Mueller’s long-anticipated report, the person at the center of the story was mum. Official Washington buzzed Saturday, as Attorney General William Barr reportedly reviewed the report and prepared to brief members of Congress. But Trump was absent.
By Saturday evening, the usually Twitter-happy president had not thumbed a message in more than 24 hours.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 22, 2019
“Today in Florida, [First Lady Melania Trump] and I were honored to welcome and meet with leaders from the Bahamas, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Jamaica, and Saint Lucia,” Trump tweeted in the late afternoon of Friday, March 22nd, just about an hour before the news came down that the special counsel’s final report was being remitted into the hands of Barr. According to sources familiar with the heretofore undisclosed report, special counsel Robert Mueller is not seeking further indictments.
CNN reported that Trump huddled with his lawyers late in the day Friday, in apparent anticipation of the news to come. Later that evening, Trump made an unplanned appearance at an annual fundraiser for the Palm Beach County GOP, which was held at his resort. He made no mention of Mueller or the probe, according to overnight reports.
As Trump looked on, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), who was the keynote speaker, reportedly led the assembled in a “Lock her up!” chant after vowing to call for a renewed investigation into Hillary Clinton as well as the origins of the famed Steele dossier.
Back in Washington, members of Congress were advised that they would not be briefed on the special counsel’s report on Saturday. Politico reported that Democrats “[huddled]…to strategize about how to talk about the as-yet-unseen report and how to force the Justice Department to make it public — a possible drag-out legal fight that could consume Washington for months.”
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) told reporters Friday night, “I think the demand from the public is overwhelming to see the report when it’s on such a serious matter, and it will be made public.” On Saturday, Schumer’s words were echoed by his colleague, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), who, recalling the Watergate scandal in a column for the Washington Post, declared, “Those years serve as a reminder that a democracy hidden from the people is no democracy at all.”
While the president managed to refrain from indulging his Twitter habit over the course of the day, his eldest son, Donald Trump, Jr., picked up the slack during a prolific barrage of tweets, including one instance in which he chose to retweet himself.