On May 17th, 2017, former FBI Director Robert Mueller was named to lead a special Justice Department investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and any ties between the Russian government and Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. After nearly two years and hundreds of protestations from the president, that investigation is now officially over.
On Friday, Mueller’s office submitted its final report to the Justice Department. According to the Wall Street Journal, the report was first delivered to the office of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who turned it over to Attorney General William Barr. Barr’s office informed the White House that he had received Mueller’s report around 4:40 p.m. ET. Barr then delivered a letter to Congress in which he noted that he has received the report, that he is reviewing it and that he could potentially submit a summary of its findings to Congress as soon as this weekend.
“The Special Counsel has submitted to me today a ‘confidential report explaining the prosecution or declination decisions’ he has reached,” wrote Barr. “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 wrote that he intends to consult with Rosenstein and 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.” He added that he remains “committed to as much transparency as possible, and I will keep you informed as to the status of my review.”
After the report was submitted, Trump’s legal team issued a statement. “We’re pleased that the Office of Special Counsel has delivered its report to the Attorney General pursuant to the regulations,” wrote lawyers Rudy Giuliani and Jay Sekulow. “Attorney General Barr will determine the appropriate next steps.”
Just in – statement from Trump legal team Rudy Giuliani & Jay Sekulow: “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.”
— John Santucci (@Santucci) March 22, 2019
The White House responded, as well. “The next steps are up to Attorney General Barr, and we look forward to the process taking its course,” tweeted Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders. “The White House has not received or been briefed on the Special Counsel’s report.”
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
Several Democratic lawmakers have released statements calling for Barr to make the entirety of Mueller’s report available to the public.
“Now that Special Counsel Mueller has submitted his report to the Attorney General, it is imperative for Mr. Barr to make the full report, it is imperative for Mr. Barr to make the full report public and provide its underlying documentation and findings to Congress,” wrote House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) in a joint statement.
— Greg Sargent (@ThePlumLineGS) March 22, 2019
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) also called for total transparency. “A.G. Barr has confirmed the completion of the Special Counsel investigation,” he wrote on Twitter. “We look forward to getting the full Mueller report and related materials. Transparency and the public interest demand nothing less. The need for public faith in the rule of law must be the priority.
Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA), the ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee, wrote in a statement that he anticipates Barr will release the report to the public: “I fully expect the Justice Department to release the special counsel’s report to this committee and to the public without delay and to the maximum extent permitted by law.”
It will ultimately be up to Barr to determine how much of the report to release to Congress and the public.
Mueller’s investigation has dominated Trump’s time in office. In total, the inquiry yielded over 30 indictments, including six against figures connected to the president. Five of those six — former national security adviser Michael Flynn, former Trump attorney Michael Cohen, former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, former Trump deputy campaign chairman Rick Gates and former Trump campaign staffer George Papadopoulos — have pleaded guilty or been convicted in connection to the investigation. The sixth, former Trump adviser Roger Stone, is currently awaiting trial.
After Mueller’s report was filed to the Justice Department on Friday, several outlets reported that Mueller is not recommending any additional indictments, citing officials within the DOJ.
A recent study by the New York Times found that the president publicly attacked the special counsel’s investigation over 1,100 times since it commenced in May 2017. The number is now significantly larger, however, as over a month has passed since the Times‘ report, and Trump’s attacks on the investigation have intensified in recent weeks, particularly on Twitter. “This was an illegal & conflicted investigation in search of a crime,” Trump wrote last Friday, hours after news broke that dozens had been killed by a gunman in New Zealand. “Russian Collusion was nothing more than an excuse by the Democrats for losing an Election that they thought they were going to win. THIS SHOULD NEVER HAPPEN TO A PRESIDENT AGAIN!”
While speaking to reporters on Wednesday, the president argued that his large Electoral College victory in the 2016 election should have precluded any investigation into his campaign’s relationship with Russia.
“It’s sort of interesting that a man just out of the blue writes a report,” Trump said.
This is a breaking news story and will be updated.