National Security

CNN: DOJ preparing to announce end of Mueller probe as soon as next week

Newly confirmed Attorney General William Barr could reportedly announce as soon as next week that special counsel Robert Mueller has finished his investigation into potential collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign during the 2016 election.

CNN reported Wednesday that Barr is planning to submit a summary to Congress of Mueller’s final and confidential report shortly after he announces the conclusion of the probe.

{mosads}The network reported that Barr could receive the report from Mueller by as soon as next week. It said the exact timing of Barr’s announcement could change, as the Justice Department is cautious of not interfering with President Trump’s upcoming summit with North Korea.

Trump on Wednesday declined to say whether he believes the Mueller report should be released, telling reporters at the White House that decision will “be totally up to the new attorney general.”

“He’s a tremendous man and a tremendous person who really respects this country and respects the Justice Department,” Trump said.

The special counsel’s office declined to comment to The Hill. The Justice Department declined to comment to CNN; The Hill has reached out for comment.

The conclusion of the investigation would likely be heralded as a victory by Trump, who has repeatedly derided the probe. He most recently attacked the investigation in a tweet Sunday, calling it “totally conflicted, illegal and rigged” and claiming that it “should never have been allowed to begin.”

Talk that Mueller could be nearing the end of his probe as circulated for months, but the arrival of a new attorney general might make it more likely.

Barr just took over at the Justice Department after his confirmation last week. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, the official who has been overseeing Mueller’s probe, is also expected to soon leave the Justice Department.

It is unclear how much of Mueller’s final report would be made public.

Barr declined to commit to making the full report available to the public and Congress during his nomination hearing last month, saying that he would follow Justice Department guidelines and make as much of the report public as possible.

That statement garnered criticism from Democrats, who have urged for the entire report be made public. Some Republicans have also joined that call.

Barr is taking over at Justice from Matthew Whitaker, who had served as acting attorney general.

Whitaker, who was tapped to replace ex-Attorney General Jeff Session, faced backlash from Democrats over comments he made prior to joining the administration that were critical of the Mueller investigation.

Whitaker said during a press conference last month that he believed the Mueller investigation was nearing the end. But he declined to expand on those statements during an appearance before the House Judiciary Committee this month, citing the ongoing nature of the probe.

— Updated 2:35 p.m.

Tags DOJ Donald Trump Matt Whitaker Robert Mueller Robert Mueller Rod Rosenstein Russia probe William Barr

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