Special counsel Robert Mueller completes investigation

Mar 23, 2019, 01:42
Special counsel Robert Mueller completes investigation

The long-awaited development comes nearly two years after Mueller was appointed by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to investigate "any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump" and "any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation". Now, Comey is hoping that Mueller's report will effectively do what his firing has apparently failed to do: restore public confidence in the justice system.

As Washington waited in collective anticipation on Friday for the expected imminent transfer of special counsel Robert Mueller's report to the Department of Justice, President Donald Trump also said he was in the dark about the timing.

Mr Mueller submitted the report to Attorney-General William Barr, the top U.S. law enforcement official, the department said.

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Barr said he could release his account to Congress as soon as this weekend. A CNN poll from February found that nine in 10 Americans wanted the report to be public knowledge.

Trump bemoaned that the special counsel was "best friend" to Comey, who succeeded Mueller as Federal Bureau of Investigation director.

In deciding what to release, Barr may have to confront thorny legal issues involving secrecy of grand jury testimony, protecting classified information, communications with the White House possibly subject to the principle of executive privilege shielding certain information from disclosure, and safeguarding confidential reasons for why some individuals were not charged.

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Multiple news outlets reported at 5 p.m. ET that the report had been delivered.

Even if Mueller's final report does not implicate the president in criminal conduct, the investigation was far from fruitless. But it may not be that simple, because it is unclear how much of the report Barr intends to give to Congress. Trump could also assert executive privilege to shield the parts of it that include communications with his own officials, and it is unclear whether Barr will push back on this.

Barr wrote in his letter that Justice Department leaders never told the special counsel throughout the investigation a proposed action should not be pursued.

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Mueller's investigators have looked into a large number of contacts between people associated with Trump's campaign and Russia such as a meeting in New York's Trump Tower between members of the president's inner circle including his eldest son and a Kremlin-linked Russian lawyer five months before the election. Manafort in the two cases prosecuted by Mueller's team was sentenced to 7-1/2 years in prison. "I call it the witch hunt, it's all a big hoax so we'll see what happens".

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