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Mueller won't deliver report to Justice Dept. next week
Special counsel Robert Mueller will not deliver his report to the Justice Department on Friday or next week, a Justice Department official told The Hill.
The news comes amid broad speculation that Mueller's probe into Russia's electoral interference is wrapping up, with several news outlets reporting Wednesday that newly confirmed Attorney General William Barr was preparing to receive Mueller's final report as soon as next week.
The highly anticipated report is expected to cap off a sprawling, nearly two-year investigation into Russia's attempts to meddle in the 2016 presidential election, a probe that has ensnared multiple former Trump campaign officials and associates.
Next week is already slated to be a busy week in Washington, with former longtime Trump lawyer Michael Cohen appearing for testimony on Capitol Hill and several other major hearings and votes set to take place.
President Trump is also slated to travel to Vietnam next week for his second summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, which is scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday.
It remains unclear when Mueller will ultimately wrap up and submit his final documentation, though Friday's news indicates the end of the investigation is at least a week away.
A spokesman for the special counsel's office declined to comment on Friday.
Mueller has been investigating Russian interference and potential coordination between the Trump campaign and Moscow since May 2017, weathering constant attacks from Trump, who views the investigation as a "witch hunt" and has long denied allegations of collusion between his campaign and the Kremlin.
In the course of his investigation, Mueller has unveiled charges against more than two dozen Russians for hacking Democratic emails and committing fraud in an elaborate plot to use social media to meddle in the election.
The special counsel has also charged six Trump associates with making false statements, illegal foreign lobbying, financial violations and other crimes. However, none of the charges have alleged a conspiracy between the campaign and the Russians to interfere in the election.
Recent events signal Mueller could be close to completing the investigation. For example, several cases, including that of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, have moved toward sentencing.
The special counsel has also brought on federal prosecutors from other districts to assist in some cases, such as that of longtime GOP operative and former informal Trump adviser Roger Stone, a sign Mueller may ultimately look to pass off those prosecutions.
Still, legal analysts say some loose ends remain that lead them to believe the conclusion of the special counsel probe could be further off.
Special counsel regulations require that Mueller submit closing documentation to the attorney general explaining his prosecutorial decisions and reasons for declining to pursue certain charges. However, it remains unclear what shape his final report will take or how much of his findings will be made public.
During his confirmation hearing earlier this year, Barr said he would release as much of the final report as possible consistent with the law, though he stopped short of committing to release the report in its entirety - a detail that frustrated Senate Democrats.
It will ultimately be up to Barr to decide what parts of the report will go to Congress and what will be made public. Legal analysts say that any public version will be redacted to conceal sensitive national security and grand jury material.
Democrats are likely to subpoena the report if they believe Barr does not make enough information available to them.
In a letter sent to Barr on Friday, six Democratic House committee leaders underscored their expectation that the attorney general will release Mueller's report to the public "without delay and to the maximum extent permitted by law."
"To the extent that the Department believes that certain aspects of the report are not suitable for immediate public release, we ask that you provide that information to Congress, along with your reasoning for withholding the information from the public, in order for us to judge the appropriateness of any redactions for ourselves," the Democrats wrote.