Robert Mueller on Capitol Hill in 2013. (Yuri Gripas/Reuters)
Special Counsel Robert Mueller on Friday evening delivered a report to attorney general William Barr detailing his nearly two-year investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible collusion with the Trump campaign.
Barr will now be tasked with deciding what information from the report will be made available to Congress and what will subsequently be shared with the public.
“I may be in a position to advise you of the special counsel’s principal conclusions as soon as this weekend,” Barr wrote in a letter to the leadership of the House and Senate Judiciary Committees obtained by the Associated Press.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders announced shortly after the report was delivered to Barr that no White House officials had yet examined it.
The next steps are up to Attorney General Barr, and we look forward to the process taking its course. The White House has not received or been briefed on the Special Counsel’s report.
In a statement released Friday evening, Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer and House speaker Nancy Pelosi called on Barr to make the report available to Congress immediately and warned him not to give the White House a “sneak preview” before doing so.
“It is imperative for Mr. Barr to make the full report public and provide its underlying documentation and findings to Congress,” the statement read.
Mueller’s investigation, which began in May 2017, yielded substantial evidence of an extensive Russian influence operation designed to sway the election in Trump’s favor, but the special counsel had not, as of the report’s delivery to Barr, produced any evidence that anyone associated with the campaign assisted in that effort.
Several dozen Russian entities and individuals, who cannot be extradited to the U.S., were indicted in a mostly symbolic gesture for their role in hacking the Democratic National Committee’s servers and spreading disinformation on social media in an attempt to disrupt the 2016 election. Six Trump aides were also indicted based on evidence collected by Mueller on charges that largely resulted from their having lied to Congress and federal investigators.
President Trump, who has lambasted Mueller and his team over the last two years for engaging in a partisan “witch hunt,” expressed a desire for the report to be made public when speaking to reporters this week.
“Let people see it,” Trump said. “There was no collusion. There was no obstruction. There was no nothing.”
While Trump has welcomed Mueller’s findings, he refused to sit for an interview with investigators and provided them with written answers instead on advice of counsel.
During his Senate confirmation hearing, Barr vowed to make public as much information from the report as possible, but would not agree to several lawmakers’ demands that he promise to release the report in full. “The country needs a credible resolution of these issues,” he said.
Department of Justice guidelines require only that Mueller explain in his report to Barr why he sought, or declined to seek, criminal charges against suspects in the probe. As a result, the report may not provide a detailed accounting of his investigation akin to the one that was produced by Independent Counsel Ken Starr following his investigation into Bill Clinton.