Mueller report to be released on Thursday






William Barr

Attorney General William Barr’s letter said the Mueller probe “did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.” | Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Attorney General William Barr is set to release on Thursday morning a redacted version of the report special counsel Robert Mueller submitted at the conclusion of his two-year Russia probe.

At that time, the report — which appears destined to cast a long shadow over President Donald Trump’s reelection bid regardless of its content — will be made available to Congress and the public, a Justice Department spokeswoman said Monday.

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The nearly 400-page report will be immediately scrutinized for insight into why the special counsel did not establish a conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia, as well as Mueller’s reasoning for why he opted to not make a final ruling on whether the president obstructed justice.

While Trump has claimed “complete exoneration” based on Barr’s announcement that Mueller did not uncover a criminal Trump-Russia conspiracy or recommended obstruction-of-justice charges, the report could still contain fresh details about the Trump campaign’s contacts with Moscow-linked individuals and about the president’s attempts to stymie investigators.

Mueller’s findings won’t be released to the public in full, however. Instead, the version of the report set for release is expected to include a series of redactions made by Justice Department and special counsel lawyers.

The withheld information will cover four categories: secret grand jury details, classified national security and intelligence specifics, material related to ongoing investigations and passages that could defame “peripheral” third-party figures caught up in Mueller’s probe.

Democrats have said they’re deeply suspicious of Barr’s redaction plans and have called for the unedited report to get a public airing. Democratic House leaders have also threatened possible legal action to obtain the unredacted document.

The report’s release will follow a series of letters Barr sent to Congress announcing the end of the special counsel’s investigation, summarizing Mueller’s top-line findings and promising a speedy redaction process to make most of the document public.

Barr’s most closely inspected letter — sent on March 24 — said the Mueller probe “did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.” It also said Mueller found evidence “on both sides of the question” as to whether Trump obstructed the Russia probe. It pointedly noted that while the special counsel’s report “does not conclude the president committed a crime, it does not exonerate him.”

Despite the murky conclusion, Trump and his defenders have latched on to Barr’s letter to punch back at the Mueller probe. Speaking to reporters last week at the White House, the president called the investigation an “attempted coup” to remove him from office. One of Trump’s personal lawyers, Jay Sekulow, told POLITICO that he wasn’t concerned about the findings although he also acknowledged that he had not yet seen the report.

“At the end of the day, it’s like waiting for the jury verdict, except you know what the jury verdict is already,” Sekulow said.

Democrats have blasted Barr for publicly supplementing Mueller’s findings by announcing that the DOJ would not prosecute Trump for obstructing justice. Critics have noted that while Mueller decided not to issue a conclusion on obstruction after 22 months, Barr did so after having the report for only about 48 hours.

At congressional hearings last week, Barr declined to elaborate on his rationale for that portion of his March 24 letter, but said he’d be happy to discuss it with lawmakers after the bulk of the report is released. He’s expected to appear separately before the House and Senate Judiciary Committees early next month.

Whether Mueller will end up testifying to Congress is less clear, but many lawmakers would like to see him do so.

In his time on the job, Mueller notched a string of high-profile prosecutions and plea deals, leaning on more than 2,800 subpoenas, nearly 500 search warrants and interviews with about 500 witnesses.

Mueller filed charges against 34 people and three companies, and secured guilty pleas from former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort; Manafort’s deputy, Rick Gates; onetime national security adviser Michael Flynn; and ex-Trump personal attorney Michael Cohen.

Mueller’s probe also will live on even as his team disbands.

Longtime Trump associate Roger Stone is set to go on trial this fall for allegedly lying to lawmakers and obstructing their Russia probe. Offshoot criminal cases are also pending against one of Flynn’s former business partners and Greg Craig, a former Obama White House counsel accused of making false statements and concealing material information about his lobbying work on behalf of the Ukrainian government.

Federal prosecutors also are continuing to litigate cases Mueller launched involving a Russian troll farm and a mysterious foreign-owned company’s challenge to a grand jury subpoena. The grand jury that Mueller used to investigate Russian collusion is “continuing robustly,” a federal prosecutorsaidlast month, while offering no further details about its work.

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