NBC: Mueller Could Submit Russia Report to DOJ in Less Than Two Months
Special Counsel Robert Mueller could submit a confidential report of his Trump-Russia investigation as early as mid-February, NBC News is reporting.
The report, which would be submitted to the attorney general, is expected to revolve around the investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, as well as an obstruction of justice investigation into President Trump’s firing of James Comey as FBI director.
According to NBC, it is not yet clear what conclusions Mueller has reached on the two prongs of the investigation, which began with his appointment on May 17, 2017.
Mueller’s probe has yielded one court conviction, against former Trump campaign adviser Paul Manafort, and several guilty pleas from former Trump aides who have admitted to lying to the FBI.
Mueller has also indicted Russian nationals involved in election-related meddling.
But no Trump associates have so far been accused of conspiring with Russians to influence the election.
Mueller’s recent maneuverings have suggested that he is close to wrapping up the investigation. CNN reported on Nov. 8 that Mueller’s team had started writing the final report of the investigation.
“They clearly are tying up loose ends,” a lawyer who has been in contact with Mueller’s team told NBC News.
One wild card that could distort the timeline for release of the report is whether Mueller seeks an in-person interview with Trump. Trump submitted answers in writing to the special counsel on Nov. 20, and his attorneys have said that he will likely fight any attempt to sit down with prosecutors.
Any subpoena by Mueller for an interview would likely touch off a months-long court battle.
As NBC noted, one signal that Mueller is nearing the end of the investigation is that prosecutors have proceeded to sentencing for several key witnesses, including former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos and former national security adviser Michael Flynn.
Prosecutors typically wait for sentencing until after cooperating witnesses have provided testimony in whatever case has been brought to trial.
Mueller’s report could contain recommendations for the Justice Department to proceed against any criminal cases against Trump or other associates.
But Mueller is hampered to some degree by the longstanding policies against indicting a sitting president.
Whatever the report concludes, there will be pressure from House Democrats, who take over the majority in January, to make parts of the report public.
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