This post has been updated with breaking news developments.
Robert Mueller, the special counsel tasked with investigating Russian interference into the 2016 election, has delivered his report to Attorney General William P. Barr, according to a letter Barr sent to Congress. Mueller is not recommending any further indictments, a senior Justice Department official told reporters after the news broke.
The news means an apparent conclusion to nearly two years of investigation by Mueller’s office. While we do not yet know how much of the report—a comprehensive summary and explanation of his investigation—the public will be allowed to see, Barr has promised to be as transparent as possible with Congress about its details. Anything given to Congress, it is assumed, will then be shared with the public.
According to the Washington Post, Barr said he was “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.”
In his letter to the leaders of the House and Senate judiciary committees, Barr said that he would confer with Mueller and Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein “to determine what other information from the report can be released to Congress and the public consistent with the law, including the Special Counsel regulations, and the Department’s long-standing practices and policies.” He also said that Mueller’s office had not proposed any action during the investigation that was “inappropriate or unwarranted under established Departmental practices.”
House Democrats, now in the majority, will determine what next steps to take.
While the contents of the report are still secret, the general areas of inquiry are thought to be known in large part because of indictments Mueller’s team has already secured from the grand jury. While Mueller’s investigation began by looking into the work of Russian hackers, it has expanded to cover a range of issues beyond the question of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians, including potential obstruction of justice by the president.
We cannot know if the report includes much beyond the crimes described in the 34 indictments we have already seen, but as Slate has noted, those indictments—of Trump campaign officials and other former aides, as well as of Russian intelligence officers and other Russian nationals—followed by a number of other convictions have already indicated a level of success from the investigation.
The report’s completion does not mean a tidy and comprehensive wrapping up of all lines of inquiry, according to the New York Times. Some—including one investigation into former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort’s handling of campaign polling data—remain open and active and may, according to the Times, be carried over with Mueller’s investigators when they are moved back to their old jobs. According to BuzzFeed News, the Department of Justice has said that Mueller and a small contingent of staff will remain in their positions to close out some of the office’s remaining work, until a point determined by Barr.
In response to the news, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders tweeted, “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.”
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