On Friday afternoon, at 5 PM EDT, the Justice Department confirmed that Special Counsel Robert Mueller had indeed turned in his long-awaited report on supposed Trump-Russia collusion. Attorney General William Barr then released a letter to the ranking members of the House and Senate Judiciary Committees informing them that he “may be in a position to advise you of the Special Counsel’s principal conclusions as soon as this weekend.”
Under Department of Justice regulations, Barr must review the Mueller report for release; Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein wrote a letter last year suggesting that no allegations concerning non-criminal activity would be released to the public. Late on Friday afternoon, multiple news outlets broke the story that Mueller had recommended no further indictments in his report.
The Mueller report represents the conclusion of a nearly two-year-long inquiry under Mueller’s auspices, begun when Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed Mueller after President Trump fired FBI director James Comey.
Democrats have been clamoring for a full release of the Mueller report, presuming that a redacted report will be far less damaging to President Trump than the full report. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer released a statement calling on Barr to “make the full report public and provide its underlying documentation and findings to Congress,” declaring that the “White House must not be allowed to interfere in decisions about what parts of those findings or evidence are made public.”
It remains to be seen how much information Barr releases publicly.
Many in the media continue to report, despite the lack of further indictments, that prosecutions that have already taken place somehow provide evidence of Trump-Russia collusion. This is flatly false. None of the indictments already pursued concern collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government that implicates Trump or any high-ranking campaign officials. With that said, it is possible that Mueller recommended no further indictments thanks to DOJ regulations that state a sitting president cannot be indicted. We won’t know the full extent of that possibility until we learn the details of the report.
Meanwhile, media members have already turned their eyes hopefully to the Southern District of New York, where the possibility of criminal indictment against President Trump on the basis of campaign finance violations remains.
This story will be updated as the evening unfolds.