Summary of Trump-Russia report 'to be released today'
US Attorney General William Barr has scoured special counsel Robert Mueller's confidential report on the Russia investigation with his advisers, deciding how much Congress and the American public will get to see about the two-year probe into President Donald Trump and Moscow's efforts to elect him.
Mr Barr was on pace to release his first summary of Mr Mueller's findings today, people familiar with the process said.
The attorney general's decision on what to finally disclose seems almost certain to set off a fight with congressional Democrats, who want access to all of Mr Mueller's findings – and supporting evidence – on whether Mr Trump's 2016 campaign coordinated with Russia to sway the election and whether the president later sought to obstruct the investigation.
Mr Barr and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who appointed Mr Mueller and oversaw much of his work, analysed the report yesterday, laboring to condense it into a summary letter of main conclusions. Mr Mueller delivered his full report to Mr Barr on Friday.
The Russia investigation has shadowed Mr Trump for nearly two years and has ensnared his family and close advisers.
And no matter the findings in Mr Mueller's report, the probe already has illuminated Russia's assault on the American political system, painted the Trump campaign as eager to exploit the release of hacked Democratic emails to hurt Democrat Hillary Clinton and exposed lies by Trump aides aimed at covering up their Russia-related contacts.
Mr Barr has said he wants to release as much as he can under the law. That decision will require him to weigh the Justice Department's longstanding protocol of not releasing negative information about people who aren't 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 email investigation, to argue that they're entitled to Mr Mueller's entire report and the underlying evidence he collected.
Even with the details still under wraps, Friday's end to the 22-month probe without additional indictments by Mr Mueller was welcome news to some in Mr 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 yesterday it had not been briefed on the report.
Mr Trump, who has relentlessly criticised Mr Mueller's investigation as a "witch hunt", went golfing and was uncharacteristically quiet on Twitter. Not so one of his guests, musician Kid Rock, who posted a picture with the president and the tweet, "Another great day on the links! Thank you to POTUS for having me and to EVERYONE at Trump International for being so wonderful. What a great man, so down to earth and so fun to be with!!"
In a possible foreshadowing of expected clashes between the Justice Department and Congress, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a letter to members that Mr Barr's offer to provide a summary of principal conclusions was "insufficient".
Ms 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.
The conclusion of Mr 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 Mr Trump asked him to arrange the transactions. Federal prosecutors, also in New York, have been investigating foreign contributions made to the president's inaugural committee.
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