Mueller finishes Russia investigation, submits report to Justice Department

Robert Mueller Report Photo: ZUMA Press via MGN.
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(Gray News) - Robert Mueller has submitted his final report on the Russia investigation to the Justice Department, Attorney General William Barr said Friday in a letter to Congressional leaders.

Barr said he has been given the report, and may reveal some of the report’s findings even over the weekend.

Barr wrote in his letter that he is “reviewing the report and anticipate that I may be in a position to advise you of the special counsel’s principle conclusions as soon as this weekend.”

CNN reported Mueller is also not recommending any more criminal charges for any more individuals as a result of his findings.

In a White House statement, press secretary Sarah Sanders said the Trump administration “has not received or been briefed on the Special Counsel report."

“The next steps are up to Attorney General Barr, and we look forward to the process taking its course,” she wrote.

Mueller, in a statement through a spokesman for the special counsel’s office, confirmed the investigation was over.

“The special counsel will be concluding his service in the coming days. A small number of staff will remain to assist in closing the operations of the office for a period of time," the statement, released by spokesman Peter Carr, said.

In his letter, Barr said he was also consulting with Mueller and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein “to determine what other information from the report can be released to Congress and the public consistent with the law.”

“I remain committed to as much transparency as possible, and I will keep you informed as to the status of my review,” Barr said in the letter, which was sent to Republicans Sen. Lindsey Graham and Rep. Doug Collins, and Democrats Rep. Jerrold Nadler and Sen. Dianne Feinstein.

Graham and Nadler are the chairmen of the Senate and House Judiciary Committees, respectively, and Feinstein and Collins are the ranking minority members of those committees.

Barr also outlined that he was required to inform Congress if the Department of Justice had at any point during the investigation determined if a course of action by the special counsel was “so inappropriate or unwarranted” that it “should not be pursued.” The attorney general wrote that “there were no such instances.”

In a joint statement, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called on Barr to release the report to the public.

“It is imperative for Mr. Barr to make the full report public and provide its underlying documentation and findings for Congress,” they said.

They also asked Barr not to allow President Donald Trump or White House lawyers a “sneak preview” of the report’s findings. “The White House must not be allowed to interfere in decisions about what parts of those findings or evidence are made public,” Pelosi and Schumer said.

Mueller’s investigation has for the last two years traced the outlines of Russia’s attempts to influence the 2016 presidential election. The probe has been a preoccupation of President Donald Trump’s almost since he took office, hanging over his administration and becoming a central fixation of U.S. politics.

Perhaps not since Watergate has such an investigation held such an extraordinary place in American life.

It has weaved in sometimes dizzying directions along the way - a frequent conservative criticism of the investigation - coming to touch on questions of whether the Trump campaign colluded with the Russian government, whether the president obstructed justice in his firing of former FBI Director James Comey, and whether Trump’s finances, in business and in politics, were entirely legal.

The end result is 37 indictments, and a handful of other cases referred to the Justice Department.

It has ensnared a half dozen associates of the president’s. They range from close confidants such as Roger Stone and former lawyer Michael Cohen, to 2016 campaign operatives such as Paul Manafort, Rick Gates and George Papadopoulos, to a onetime administration official, Michael Flynn, who briefly served as the president’s national security adviser.

That, so far, has resulted in eight convictions and guilty pleas, including those of Flynn, Cohen and Manafort. Cohen will spend three years in prison, and Manafort will be sentenced in March. He could wind up with a much longer sentence - Mueller recommended more than 20 years for him.

The Mueller team’s work has also not ignored the source of the 2016 interference campaign - Russia itself.

Last February, 13 Russian citizens and three Russian companies were charged for their involvement with the Internet Research Agency, the propaganda shop U.S. intelligence believes acted as a “troll factory” skewing online debate during the 2016 election.

And in July, more indictments were issued for 12 Russian intelligence officers accused of involvement in the hack of Democratic emails during the campaign.

Mueller himself was a quiet figure for the last two years, occupying a near-daily presence in the national media and in the nation’s halls of power despite not actually ever saying much. His office never publicly countered the president as he repeatedly railed against the investigation as a “witch hunt.” It never informed the press of what progress it was making, or to what ends it was operating.

Partly because of that, it is still mostly down to infrequent leaks and speculation as to what the special counsel might have found or what conclusions he might have drawn from his investigation.

What is known is Mueller’s work is now through, and Barr says he will soon shed light on what it uncovered.

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