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Still awaiting word on the contents of the Mueller Report

U.S. Attorney General won't release summary until at least Sunday.

Posted: Mar 23, 2019 1:41 PM
Updated: Mar 23, 2019 3:18 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — Attorney General William Barr spent Saturday reviewing the special counsel's confidential report on the Trump-Russia investigation, but Barr's "principal conclusions" summary for Congress was not coming for at least another day.

No summary for Judiciary Committee leaders — or the public — just yet, said a senior Justice Department official, speaking only on condition of anonymity because the person wasn't authorized to publicly discuss the review process.

Barr has said he expected to send his version to the lawmakers as soon as this weekend after determining what should be made public. Special counsel Robert Mueller sent the attorney general the final report Friday on his 22-month investigation that cast a dark shadow of Donald Trump's presidency.

Even with the details still under wraps, Friday's end to the 22-month probe without additional indictments by Mueller was welcome news to some in Trump's orbit who had feared a final round of charges could ensnare more Trump associates, including members of the president's family.

The report was accessible to only a few Justice officials while Barr prepared to summarize the "principal conclusions."

Trump, who has relentlessly criticized Mueller's investigation as a "witch hunt," was at his golf club in Florida on Saturday, and House Democrats were planning to gather by phone late in the day as they waited for Barr's summary.

Word of the report's delivery to Barr on Friday triggered reactions across Washington, including Democrats' demands that it be quickly released to the public and Republicans' contentions that it ended two years of wasted time and money.

The next step was up to Barr, who declared he was committed to transparency and speed.

The White House sought to keep some distance, saying it had not seen or been briefed on the report. Trump, surrounded by advisers and political supporters at his resort in Florida, stayed uncharacteristically quiet on Twitter.

With no details released at this point, it was not known whether Mueller's report answers the core questions of his investigation: Did Trump's campaign collude with the Kremlin to sway the 2016 presidential election in favor of the celebrity businessman? Also, did Trump take steps later, including by firing his FBI director, to obstruct the probe?

But the delivery of the report does mean the investigation has concluded without any public charges of a criminal conspiracy between the campaign and Russia, or of obstruction by the president. A Justice Department official confirmed that Mueller was not recommending any further indictments.

That person, who described the document as "comprehensive," was not authorized to discuss the probe and asked for anonymity.

That was good news for a handful of Trump associates and family members dogged by speculation of possible wrongdoing. They include Donald Trump Jr., who had a role in arranging a Trump Tower meeting at the height of the 2016 campaign with a Kremlin-linked lawyer, and Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who was interviewed at least twice by Mueller's prosecutors. It wasn't immediately clear whether Mueller might have referred additional investigations to the Justice Department.

All told, Mueller charged 34 people, including the president's former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, his first national security adviser, Michael Flynn, and three Russian companies. Twenty-five Russians were indicted on charges related to election interference, accused either of hacking Democratic email accounts during the campaign or of orchestrating a social media campaign that spread disinformation on the internet.

Five Trump aides pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate with Mueller and a sixth, longtime confidant Roger Stone, is awaiting trial on charges that he lied to Congress and engaged in witness tampering.

Justice Department legal opinions have held that sitting presidents may not be indicted.

The conclusion of Mueller's investigation does not remove legal peril for the president. Trump faces a separate Justice Department investigation in New York into hush money payments during the campaign to two women who say they had sex with him years before the election. He's also been implicated in a potential campaign finance violation by his former lawyer, Michael Cohen, who says Trump asked him to arrange the transactions. Federal prosecutors, also in New York, have been investigating foreign contributions made to the president's inaugural committee.

In his letter to lawmakers, Barr noted the department had not denied any request from the special counsel, something Barr would have been required to disclose to ensure there was no political inference. Trump was never interviewed in person, but submitted answers to questions in writing.

The mere delivery of the confidential findings set off swift demands from Democrats for full release of Mueller's report and the supporting evidence collected during the sweeping probe.

As Mueller's probe has wound down, Democrats have increasingly shifted their focus to their own congressional investigations, ensuring the special counsel's words would not be the last on the matter.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer declared it "imperative" to make the full report public, a call echoed by several Democrats vying to challenge Trump in 2020.

"The American people have a right to the truth," Schumer and Pelosi said in a joint statement.

It was not clear whether Trump would have early access to Mueller's findings. Spokeswoman Sarah Sanders suggested the White House would not interfere, saying "we look forward to the process taking its course." But Trump's personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, told The Associated Press Friday that the president's legal team would seek to get "an early look" before the findings were made public.

Giuliani said it was "appropriate" for the White House to be able "to review matters of executive privilege." He said had received no assurances from the Department of Justice on that front. He later softened his stance, saying the decision was "up to DOJ and we are confident it will be handled properly."

The White House did receive a brief heads-up on the report's arrival Friday. Barr's chief of staff called White House Counsel Emmet Flood on Friday about 20 minutes before sending the letter to the Republican and Democratic leaders of the Senate and House Judiciary committees.

The chairman of the Senate panel, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, was keynote speaker Friday night at a Palm Beach County GOP fundraising dinner at Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort. Trump made brief remarks to the group but did not mention the report, according to a person who attended the event, which was closed to the press.

Barr has said he wants to make as much public as possible, and any efforts to withhold details are sure to prompt a tussle with lawmakers who may subpoena Mueller and his investigators to testify before Congress. Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., chairman of the House intelligence committee, threatened a subpoena Friday.

Such a move would likely be vigorously contested by the Trump administration.

No matter the findings in Mueller's report, the investigation has already illuminated Russia's assault on the American political system, painted the Trump campaign as eager to exploit the release of hacked Democratic emails to hurt Democrat Hillary Clinton and exposed lies by Trump aides aimed at covering up their Russia-related contacts.

The special counsel brought a sweeping indictment accusing Russian military intelligence officers of hacking Clinton's campaign and other Democratic groups during the 2016 campaign. He charged another group of Russians with carrying out a large-scale social media disinformation campaign against the American political process that also sought to help Trump and hurt Clinton.

Mueller also initiated the investigation into Cohen, who pleaded guilty in New York to campaign finance violations arising from the hush money payments and in the Mueller probe to lying to Congress about a Moscow real estate deal. Another Trump confidant, Stone, is awaiting trial on charges that he lied about his pursuit of Russian-hacked emails ultimately released by WikiLeaks.

Mueller has also been investigating whether the president tried to obstruct the investigation. Since the special counsel's appointment in May 2017, Trump has increasingly tried to undermine the probe by calling it a "witch hunt" and repeatedly proclaiming there was "NO COLLUSION" with Russia.

One week before Mueller's appointment, Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, later saying he was thinking of "this Russia thing" at the time.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 480845

Reported Deaths: 6511
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin997381576
Ramsey42744796
Dakota35818383
Anoka33010383
Washington21862253
Stearns18683200
St. Louis14655262
Scott13119107
Wright12414114
Olmsted1170088
Sherburne866373
Carver756340
Clay683686
Rice664291
Blue Earth587235
Kandiyohi576674
Crow Wing514780
Chisago493644
Otter Tail479470
Benton441390
Winona414248
Mower400231
Douglas390768
Nobles385347
Goodhue383368
Polk341062
McLeod336349
Beltrami335350
Morrison321846
Lyon311543
Itasca308545
Becker307841
Isanti303453
Carlton298544
Steele297611
Pine280616
Freeborn276823
Nicollet252341
Todd244030
Brown240737
Le Sueur230520
Mille Lacs225747
Cass218124
Waseca206917
Meeker205534
Martin186728
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Pennington127016
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Murray9418
Jackson92510
Swift87218
Pope7885
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Stevens7378
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Lac qui Parle68216
Wilkin66510
Koochiching61711
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Norman4648
Mahnomen4377
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Cook1190

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 359747

Reported Deaths: 5357
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk57625545
Linn20536311
Scott18203205
Black Hawk16187286
Woodbury14875211
Johnson1374173
Dubuque13480194
Dallas1123790
Pottawattamie10716140
Story1012945
Warren550271
Clinton540783
Cerro Gordo531080
Webster515686
Marshall493772
Sioux491568
Buena Vista469736
Des Moines455059
Muscatine446789
Wapello4261107
Jasper406865
Plymouth393377
Lee373551
Marion356969
Jones293854
Henry292535
Carroll284048
Bremer276554
Crawford272035
Boone258230
Washington253145
Benton250454
Mahaska223145
Jackson220438
Dickinson216338
Tama211564
Kossuth206954
Clay192925
Hamilton191641
Delaware188539
Winneshiek186926
Fayette184033
Buchanan183630
Page181619
Hardin179638
Wright179131
Harrison178969
Cedar175522
Clayton168153
Butler165731
Floyd162439
Mills162420
Cherokee153535
Madison153418
Poweshiek153429
Hancock146529
Lyon145441
Iowa143823
Allamakee143644
Appanoose138447
Grundy138230
Jefferson137532
Winnebago137530
Calhoun133010
Cass132448
Mitchell130040
Louisa127941
Union125931
Chickasaw124613
Sac123718
Emmet120740
Shelby119933
Franklin118319
Humboldt116725
Guthrie116028
Montgomery104036
Palo Alto103921
Howard102421
Clarke99220
Keokuk97529
Unassigned9300
Monroe92628
Adair91626
Ida90732
Pocahontas85419
Davis82223
Monona81525
Greene76610
Lucas73121
Osceola70014
Worth6907
Taylor66312
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Decatur5729
Van Buren55818
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