Mon, Mar 25, 2019 - Page 1 News List

US attorney general mulls what to give of Mueller’s report


US Attorney General William Barr, in glasses, steps out of his car at his home in McLean, Virginia, on Saturday.

Photo: Bloomberg

US Attorney General William Barr has scoured Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s confidential report on the Russia investigation with his advisers, deciding how much the US Congress and the public will get to see about the two-year probe into US President Donald Trump and Moscow’s efforts to elect him.

Barr was on pace to release his first summary of Mueller’s findings later yesterday, people familiar with the process said.

His decision on what to finally disclose seems almost certain to set off a fight with congressional Democrats, who want access to all of Mueller’s findings — and supporting evidence — on whether Trump’s 2016 campaign coordinated with Russia to sway the election and whether the president later sought to obstruct the investigation.

Barr and US Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who appointed Mueller and oversaw much of his work, analyzed the report on Saturday, laboring to condense it into a summary letter of main conclusions.

Mueller delivered his full report to Barr on Friday.

The Russia investigation has shadowed Trump for nearly two years and has ensnared his family and close advisers.

No matter the findings in Mueller’s report, the probe already has illuminated Russia’s assault on the US political system, painted the Trump campaign as eager to exploit the release of hacked Democratic e-mails to hurt Democratic candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton and exposed lies by Trump aides aimed at covering up their Russia-related contacts.

Barr has said he wants to release as much as he can under the law.

That decision would require him to weigh the US Department of Justice’s longstanding protocol of not releasing negative information about people who are not indicted against the extraordinary public interest in a criminal investigation into the president and his campaign.

Democrats are already citing the department’s recent precedent of norm-breaking disclosures, including during the Clinton e-mail investigation, to argue that they are entitled to

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 target more Trump associates or members of the president’s family.

The White House sought to keep its distance, saying on Saturday it had not been briefed on the report.

Trump, who has relentlessly criticized Mueller’s investigation as a “witch hunt,’’ went golfing and was uncharacteristically quiet on Twitter.

US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a letter to members that Barr’s offer to provide a summary of principal conclusions was “insufficient.”

Pelosi later told Democrats on a conference call that she would reject any kind of classified briefing on the report and that the information must be provided to Congress in a way that would allow lawmakers to discuss it publicly.

A Justice Department official did confirm that Mueller was not recommending any further indictments, meaning the investigation had ended without any public charges of a criminal conspiracy, or of obstruction of justice by the president.

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