Special counsel Robert Mueller has delivered the report summarizing his lengthy investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election to the Justice Department, marking an end to the nearly two-year-long probe that has preoccupied the country and cast a shadow over President Donald Trump’s administration.
On Friday, Attorney General William P. Barr sent a letter to Congress confirming his receipt of Mueller’s report examining Russian interference in the election and possible coordination with Trump’s associates, but its much-anticipated contents remain confidential.
Here’s what we know about the report, and what’s next:
The short answer: We don’t know, and may not know for a while. The House voted unanimously this month on a nonbinding resolution to make Mueller’s findings public, but its release is ultimately up to Barr.
And at this point, only a handful of law enforcement officials have seen the probe’s contents, a Justice Department spokesperson told the New York Times.
The report’s delivery does signal one thing: The investigation has wrapped without public charges of a criminal conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia, or obstruction by Trump. During Mueller’s investigation, the probe resulted in felony charges against 34 people, including six officials who served on Trump’s campaign.
It’s not clear how much of the report will be released to the public, or when that will happen. Barr, a Trump appointee, said he could release his account of the findings to Congress as soon as this weekend, but there is no indication how in-depth that summary may be.
“I remain committed to as much transparency as possible, and I will keep you informed as to the status of my review,” Barr wrote in his letter to Congress.
Depending on Mueller’s findings, the delivery of the investigation to the Justice Department sets the stage for public battles over the probe to begin. The next steps are in the hands of Barr, Congress, and, likely, the federal courts.
In his confirmation hearings, Barr was noncommittal about his plans for handling Mueller’s report, but said he would make as much information public as possible, “consistent with the law.”
When it comes to possible prosecution in light of the report’s findings, Barr’s wide interpretation of executive power is favorable to the president. Months before he was tapped to replace then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Barr laid out his views on the executive branch in a June 2018 memo, appearing to criticize Mueller’s question of whether Trump had obstructed justice.
“Thus, the full measure of law enforcement authority is placed in the president’s hands, and no limit is placed on the kinds of cases subject to his control and supervision,” Barr wrote.
Mueller’s investigation won’t include any further indictments, multiple outlets have reported, citing a senior Department of Justice official.
As expected, many Pennsylvania and New Jersey lawmakers — including presidential hopeful Cory Booker, Sens. Bob Casey and Bob Menendez, and Reps. Donald Norcross and Dwight Evans — have joined a nationwide chorus of Democrats calling for Mueller’s report to be made public.