Democrats press for full release of Mueller’s Russia report as summary expected Sunday

by - 3 min read

Democrats press for full release of Mueller’s Russia report as summary expected Sunday

by - 3 min read

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U.S. lawmakers were waiting Sunday for details of a confidential report into an investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 election that has cast a pall over Donald Trump’s presidency and raised questions about possible collusion between the Republican’s campaign and Moscow.

Attorney General William Barr was expected to give Congress and the public a summary of the report by special counsel Robert Mueller, who conducted a 22-month-long investigation.

Barr, the top U.S. law enforcement official, spent nine hours on Saturday studying the report. He had said he hoped to hand over a summary of its “principal conclusions” by the end of the weekend.

There appeared to be initial good news for Trump and his inner circle, as Mueller did not bring any additional indictments when he handed the report over to Barr on Friday.

That signals there might be no more criminal charges against Trump associates on the issue of whether the Trump campaign conspired with Russia to help the real estate magnate beat Democrat Hillary Clinton in the 2016 White House race.

It was not immediately known what Mueller’s report says about another strand of inquiry: whether Trump committed obstruction of justice to hinder the Russia investigation by acts such as firing FBI Director James Comey in 2017.

Newspaper front pages from around the U.S. are on display at the Newseum on Saturday in Washington. (Alex Brandon/Associated Press)

Mueller brought charges against 34 people and three companies during his investigation, with prison sentences for some of Trump’s former aides, such as campaign chairman Paul Manafort and longtime personal lawyer Michael Cohen.

None of those charges, however, directly related to whether Trump’s campaign worked with Moscow.

Mueller, a former FBI director, did not interview Trump in person for his probe. Instead, Trump sent written answers to some questions about contacts with Russia.

U.S. intelligence agencies concluded shortly before Trump took office in January 2017 that Moscow meddled in the election with a campaign of email hacking and online propaganda aimed at sowing discord in the United States, hurting Clinton and helping Trump.

Trump largely quiet

Trump, at his resort in Palm Beach, Fla., for the weekend, remained uncharacteristically silent about the completion of the Mueller investigation, which he has regularly derided as a “witch hunt.”

“Good morning. Have a Great Day!” was all he wrote on Twitter on Sunday morning, along with his campaign slogan “Make America Great Again!”

Trump denies collaborating with Moscow or obstructing justice. Russia says it did not interfere in the election.

The White House is seen at dusk on Friday, after Mueller delivered his final report to Barr, who is reviewing it. (Jacquelyn Martin/Associated Press)

Spokesperson Hogan Gidley told reporters the White House still has not received or been briefed on Mueller’s report.

Trump took part in no public events on Saturday and played golf with musician Kid Rock.

House Democrats have asked for the release of the full Mueller report, as well as other documents backing up its conclusions, and have threatened to issue subpoenas if necessary.

The conclusion of Mueller’s investigation does not remove legal peril for the president.

He 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. And federal prosecutors, also in New York, have been investigating foreign contributions made to the president’s inaugural committee.

Under Department of Justice regulations, Barr is empowered to decide how much to disclose of the Mueller report publicly. He is a Trump appointee who only took office in February after the president fired his predecessor, Jeff Sessions.

Barr told lawmakers on Friday that he is “committed to as much transparency as possible.”

This story originally appeared on CBC

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