The Justice Department could announce the completion of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on his investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia during the 2016 presidential election as early as next week, according to report Wednesday.
CNN reports that newly-confirmed attorney general Willian Barr is expected to turn over a summary of the report to Congress soon after its completion. The outlet cautioned that President Donald Trump’s overseas trip to meet with North Korea dictator Kim Jong-un could impact the “precise timing of the announcement.”
Preparations undertaken by Barr and Justice Department officials is the clearest sign yet that the nearly two-year-old investigation is drawing to a close. CNN writes: “The scope and contours of what Barr will send to Congress remain unclear. Also unclear is how long it will take Justice officials to prepare what will be submitted to lawmakers.”
Barr has cited Justice Department regulations that say Mueller’s report should be confidential. They require only that the report explain decisions to pursue or decline prosecutions.
The Justice Department, nor the special counsel’s office would comment to CNN regarding its report.
In a press conference last month, then-Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker said he believed Mueller’s investigation was “close to being completed.”
“Right now the investigation is I think close to being completed,” the Justice Department official told reporters. “I hope we can get the report from Director Mueller as soon as possible.”
Appearing on CNN’s New Day Wednesday morning, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said that Mueller’s report could be “anti-climactic.”
“I think the hope is that the Mueller investigation will clear the air on this issue once and for all. I’m really not sure it will, and the investigation, when completed, could turn out to be quite anti-climactic and not draw a conclusion about that,” he said.
Mueller, a former FBI director, was named by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein in May 2017 to look into Russian meddling in the 2016 election. Mueller’s team has indicted a total of 34 people — yet thus far, no charges of outright collusion between the Trump campaign and Moscow have been filed. Last month, Roger Stone, a veteran Republican operative and longtime Trump adviser, was arrested at his south Florida home by FBI agents on charges of making false statements to Congress and witness tampering. Six Trump associates have pleaded guilty to various charges so far including his former campaign manager Paul Manafort, former lawyer Michael Cohen and former national security advisor Michael Flynn.
House Democrats are stepping up their efforts to investigate President Trump and his associates, hiring new lawyers and staff as they take on oversight responsibility and prepare for a showdown over access to Mueller’s report. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) confirmed last week that he hired two veteran lawyers and Trump critics — Barry Berke and Norman Eisen — as his panel gears up to investigate the Justice Department and review Mueller’s final conclusions. Nadler and other Democrats have pressured Barr to release as much of the report as possible.
The Agence France-Presse and Associated Press contributed to this report.
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