Special Counsel Robert Mueller on Friday delivered a long-awaited report to the Department of Justice about his investigation into whether the Trump campaign coordinated with the Russian government during the 2016 presidential election, marking the conclusion of a two-year probe that has drawn the President’s ire.
“The Special Counsel has submitted to me today a ‘confidential report explaining the prosecution or declination decisions’ he has reached,” U.S. Attorney General William Barr said in a letter to the Senate and House Judiciary Committees on Friday. “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.”
Per Justice Department rules, it is now up to Barr to decide how much of the report to release to the public and whether to pursue prosecution or other punitive measures — decisions that are likely to result in a public fight between Democrats and Republicans. Barr said Friday that he is “committed to as much transparency as possible.”
“I intend to consult with Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein and Special Counsel Mueller 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,” Barr said in his letter to Congress.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders acknowledged Friday that the next steps are up to Barr. “We look forward to the process taking its course,” she said. “The White House has not received or been briefed on the Special Counsel’s report.”
Amid speculation that the report would be released soon, President Donald Trump had ramped up his criticism of the Mueller investigation this week, casting doubt on its findings and questioning Mueller’s decision to submit a written report at all.
“I think it’s ridiculous, but I want to see the report,” he said on Wednesday.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Friday that he hopes the “report will help inform and improve our efforts to protect our democracy.”
“I am grateful we have an experienced and capable Attorney General in place to review the Special Counsel’s report. Attorney General Barr now needs the time to do that,” McConnell said in a statement. “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.”
Alana Abramson contributed reporting.