Mueller submits Russia investigation findings to US attorney general
Report examines if Trump’s campaign conspired with Moscow to try influence election
Robert Mueller (left) has submitted his final report on the investigation into possible collusion with Russia in the 2016 election by Donald Trump’s campaign. Photographs: Saul Loeb and Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty
More than 22 months after he was appointed to investigate Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, Special counsel Robert Mueller concluded his investigation on Friday, submitting his report to the attorney general.
Following feverish speculation in recent weeks that the investigation was nearing its conclusion, the department of justice confirmed on Friday evening that the report had been submitted to attorney general William Barr.
While the submission of the report marks the conclusion of the investigation that has overshadowed Donald Trump’s presidency, it now falls to the attorney general to report to Congress on its findings.
In a letter to Congressional leaders, Mr Barr said he was reviewing the report and anticipated that he could be in a position to advise Congress on the special counsel’s “principal conclusions” as soon as this weekend.
“I remain committed to as much transparency as possible, and I will keep you informed as to the status of my review,” he wrote.
It remains unclear how much of the report will be made available to Congress and to the public.
Refused to confirm
The special counsel is obliged to provide a “confidential report” to the attorney general on completion of his or her work which must explain any “prosecution or declination decisions reached by the Special Counsel”.
Now that Special Counsel Mueller has submitted his report to the Attorney General, it is imperative for Mr. Barr to make the full report public and provide its underlying documentation and findings to Congress. My statement with @SpeakerPelosi: pic.twitter.com/LCF7NXKekB— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) March 22, 2019
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
Mr Barr, who was previously attorney general during the George HW Bush presidency, assumed his position at the head of the Justice Department last month.
During his senate confirmation hearing he refused to confirm if he would make the Mueller report public.
Mr Mueller’s final report was delivered to Mr Barr as president Trump met with Caribbean leaders at his Mar-a-lago estate in Florida.
In a statement, press secretary Sarah Sanders said: “The next steps are up to Attorney General Barr, and we look forward to the process taking its course,” adding that the White House had not received or been briefed on the report.
Earlier, as he left Washington for Florida, Mr Trump dismissed the Mueller investigation as a “hoax” and a “witch-hunt”.
“There was no collusion. There was no obstruction. Everybody knows it. It’s all a big hoax ... I call it the witch hunt,” he said.
“We’ll see what happens. I know that the Attorney General, highly respected, ultimately will make a decision.”
Under the regulations governing special counsel investigations, the attorney general must share an outline of Mr Mueller’s report with Democratic and Republican leaders of the judiciary committees in Congress.
Lawmakers from both parties, including the Democratic chairman and the top Republican member of the House of Representatives judiciary committee, immediately called for prompt release of the Mueller report to key congressional committees and the public.
House speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer – the two top Democrats in Congress – said it was “imperative” that the full report be made public and that the White House play no role in determining what is released.
“The American people have a right to the truth. The watchword is transparency,” they said in a joint statement.
Trump lawyers Jay Sekulow and Rudy Giuliani said they were pleased that Mr Mueller has delivered his report and that Barr “will determine the appropriate next steps”. – Additional reporting Reuters