When will Washington see special counsel Robert Mueller’s full report?
The finalizing of Robert Mueller’s report on Russian election interference, reports the Wall Street Journal, has Washington abuzz and members of both parties lining up their political messaging over what the findings will mean for the Trump presidency.
Special counsel Robert Mueller has submitted his report on the Russia investigation to Attorney General William Barr, but many of the details of that report may never be known to the public.
Since Attorney General William Barr told lawmakers last month that the special counsel had completed his investigation, senior Justice Department officials have been reviewing and redacting the findings, traveling between the department’s sprawling headquarters and the special counsel’s office 10 blocks away.
expected to be released this week, they were in the final stages, hashing out the logistics for the delivery of the roughly 400-page report to lawmakers.
“I’m landing the plane right now,” Mr. Barr said Wednesday at a Senate hearing. “The report’s going to be out next week.”
Coming nearly two years since Mr. Mueller’s appointment, the report’s release will be one of the seminal moments of the Trump presidency and is expected to reverberate on the 2020 campaign trail.
According to the WSJ article contributed by Sadie Gurman, Dustin Volz, Kristina Peterson and Brody Mullins, it is unlikely to be the end of the political fight. Mr. Barr told lawmakers that Mr. Mueller concluded that President Trump and his campaign didn’t conspire with Russia in that nation’s election interference in 2016, and that Mr. Barr and his deputy, Rod Rosenstein, had determined the evidence Mr. Mueller gathered was insufficient to establish that Mr. Trump had obstructed justice.
Yet the Mueller probe has spawned inquiries into Mr. Trump’s associates by other federal investigators that are continuing. And Democrats in the House are investigating Mr. Trump’s finances, businesses, relationships with foreign states, White House security clearances and other avenues.
Republicans, meanwhile, have demanded an inquiry into the genesis of the special counsel probe.
Mr. Mueller was appointed in May 2017 by Mr. Rosenstein after Mr. Trump fired then-FBI Director James Comey and then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from the investigation. Mr. Mueller and his team of FBI agents and prosecutors have secured convictions of five Trump advisers, several of whom admitted to lying to investigators about their contacts with Russian officials, and the indictment of around two-dozen Russian citizens, including Russian intelligence officers accused of hacking into Democrats’ computers and releasing stolen emails.
The wait over exactly when the report is arriving has much of the Washington region agonizing over whether to cancel travel plans. Congress is scheduled to be on recess, and public schools in Washington and some Virginia and Maryland suburbs will be on spring break. Last Tuesday, Mr. Barr said it would come within a week.
There also is a question of in what form the report will be delivered. Will it be on paper or digitally? Which color-coding will be used for the redactions? Will it be a searchable PDF document or sheets of paper fed into a scanner? Some congressional offices have stockpiled whiskey and drafted pizza orders in anticipation of a reading marathon.
Once the report does arrive, House Judiciary Committee lawyers and aides plan to crowd into a staff office and pore over it. Among their goals will be determining how big a gap is between what they have requested and what the redacted copy offers. That measure will inform whether the committee issues a subpoena to obtain evidence underlying the report.
When Mr. Barr received the report from Mr. Mueller on March 22, he had aides deliver by hand a letter noting its receipt directly to congressional offices. Two days later, Mr. Barr sent a summary of Mr. Mueller’s conclusions to the Hill electronically.
Since then, supporters and opponents of Mr. Trump have argued over the meaning of Mr. Barr’s summary. Hillary Clinton, who lost the 2016 election to Mr. Trump, says Mr. Barr’s summary isn’t credible.
In an interview with CNN’s Fareed Zakaria that aired Sunday, Mrs. Clinton said: “We deserve to see the Mueller report and if there is material that, for whatever reason, should not be shared publicly, it should be shared with the Congress.”
The president’s spokeswoman, Sarah Sanders, said the findings vindicate Mr. Trump and should conclude the matter.
“We consider this case to be closed,” she said on Fox News Sunday. “There was no collusion. There was no corruption.”
Lawyers for Mr. Trump have for months been preparing a counter-report. It is now 140 pages long, but lawyers want to whittle it down to about 50, Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani said in an interview.
Mr. Giuliani said Mr. Trump’s lawyers expect the bulk of their report to focus on the topic of obstruction of justice and plan to scrap most of the material on collusion.
Mr. Giuliani said he expected Mr. Mueller’s report to reveal internal debate about whether the president obstructed justice, given that Mr. Mueller—according to the attorney general’s letter—specifically said he wasn’t exonerating the president on that allegation.
Top Republicans were already working to insulate Mr. Barr from criticism should the report fall short of what Democrats seek. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.), who is briefed on classified matters, cited concern over leaks.
“Not only this administration, but previous administrations, have discovered that if they show everything up here, it has a tendency to get out,” he said.
Lawmakers have begun making backup plans for obtaining any withheld information. Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D., N.Y.) has said he would issue subpoenas to obtain the unredacted report and underlying documents.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D., Calif.) has said he has asked for all the information related to the counterintelligence portion of the investigation. While grand jury information is typically secret and can’t be shared, national-security officials are treated as exceptions under rules governing counterintelligence information.
While some Democrats have hoped the report would provide a road map toward possible impeachment of Mr. Trump, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) has made clear that barring a bombshell revelation, she doesn’t expect her caucus to launch impeachment proceedings.
“Impeachment is divisive for the country,” Mrs. Pelosi said in an interview last week. “I set a very high bar to cross that threshold because really, people want us to address their financial securities or insecurities, and that’s our responsibility.”