Special counsel Robert Mueller on Friday delivered his report on possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia during the 2016 presidential election to Attorney General William Barr, the Justice Department said.
The report will now be reviewed by Barr, who has previously stated he will write his own account communicating Mueller’s findings to Congress and the American public. Barr said he could release his account to Congress as soon as this weekend. “I am reviewing the report and anticipate that I may be in a position to advise you of the special counsel’s principal conclusions as soon as this weekend,” Barr said in his letter the top Republicans and Democrats on the House and Senate Judiciary committees. Barr also said in no instance did the Justice Department block Mueller from any action he wanted to take.
— Alex Wayne (@aawayne) March 22, 2019
President Trump’s initial reaction to news of the report’s delivery is that he is “glad it’s over,” according to sources close to ABC News.
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said the “next steps” regarding the report are up to Barr and that the administration looks forward to the “process taking its course.”
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.
— Sarah Sanders (@PressSec) March 22, 2019
“The White House has not received or been briefed on the Special Counsel’s report,” noted Sanders.
In a separate statement, Trump lawyers Rudy Giuliani and Jay Sekulow said of the report’s delivery: “We’re pleased that the Office of Special Counsel has delivered its report to the Attorney General pursuant to the regulations. Attorney General Barr will determine the appropriate next steps.”
With no details released at this point, it’s not known whether Mueller’s report answers the core questions of his investigation: Did Trump’s campaign collude with the Kremlin to sway the 2016 presidential election in favor of the celebrity businessman? Also, did President Trump take steps later, including by firing his FBI director, to obstruct the probe?
However, the delivery of the report does mean the investigation has concluded without any public charges of a criminal conspiracy between the campaign and Russia, or of obstruction by the president. Further, the Associated Press’ Zeke Miller reports Mueller is not recommending any further indictments.
The mere delivery of a confidential report will set off immediate demands, including in the Democrat-led House, for full release of Mueller’s findings. Barr has said he wants to make as much public as possible, and any efforts to withhold details will prompt a tussle between the Justice Department and lawmakers who may subpoena Mueller and his investigators to testify before Congress.
Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA), the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, said the report “must be provided to Congress immediately, and the Attorney General should swiftly prepare a declassified version for the public. Nothing short of that will suffice.”
Congressional Democrat leaders Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) echoed Warner’s remarks, stating: “It is imperative for Mr. Barr to make the full report public and provide its underlying documentation and findings to Congress.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said of the report’s submission: “The Attorney General has said he intends to provide as much information as possible. As I have said previously, I sincerely hope he will do so as soon as he can, and with as much openness and transparency as possible.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.