What We Know About The Mueller Report So Far

Mar 22, 2019
Originally published on March 22, 2019 8:36 pm
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MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

It's over. Nearly two years after it began, special counsel Robert Mueller has completed his investigation into Russian interference in the presidential election and possible connections to the Trump campaign. Mueller has turned his report over to the attorney general, William Barr. And today Barr notified members of Congress.

We are going to bring in NPR's White House reporter Tamara Keith and NPR's congressional correspondent Susan Davis. They are both here to talk about this. Hey, ladies.

SUSAN DAVIS, BYLINE: Hey there.

TAMARA KEITH, BYLINE: Hello.

KELLY: Tam, I'm going to start with you at the White House. Just give us the latest. What do we know so far about the Mueller Report?

KEITH: What we know is that it is done And that Mueller is winding down, has completed his investigation, that there will be no additional indictments coming from the special counsel.

KELLY: Which is significant.

KEITH: That said, we should remember that he has already gotten indictments, guilty pleas and convictions against some three dozen people and entities. One thing that we know from this letter that the attorney general sent to Congress is that, you know, when Mueller and his team wanted to prosecute someone, they were never blocked by the Justice Department. That was one of the requirements of the special counsel regulation - that if they were ever blocked, they would have to notify Congress. They were never prevented from doing what they wanted to do in this case.

Barr says he will brief Congress as soon as this weekend on the principal conclusions of the report and that he's going to work with Robert Mueller and the deputy attorney general to determine what other information can be released to Congress and the public consistent with the law, the special counsel regulations and Department of Justice policies. And Department of Justice policies do suggest, though, that typically they wouldn't release information about people who they decided not to prosecute.

KELLY: Sue Davis, let me bring you in here. Both Republicans and Democrats are all over Twitter urging transparency. I'm sure they're all over your inbox urging transparency. Do they mean the same thing when they want - when they say they want transparency and for this all to be made public as soon as possible?

DAVIS: I will note this. Last week, the House voted 420 to 0 calling on Attorney General William Barr to publicly release the report. Their motivations are different here. Democrats clearly are launching vast investigations into this Trump administration, and they believe that the Mueller report could be critical to those investigations and, yes, could be critical to possible impeachment proceedings.

Republicans are also calling for transparency but because they believe and they have faith in the White House and this president when he says there has been no collusion with him or his orbit and the Russian government and that this will be the period at the end of this sentence.

For a moment, if we can look beyond politics here, I do believe that lawmakers have also called for transparency 'cause at the core of this was a question of whether American elections had been meddled with. And the American public has a right to know as much as possible about those final conclusions.

KELLY: Tamara Keith, all eyes turn now to President Trump and what his reaction might be. I am just checking my Twitter as I speak to you right now. He hasn't weighed in yet.

KEITH: No, he hasn't weighed in yet though earlier today on four separate occasions he did refer to the investigation as a witch hunt, which is consistent. He's done that more than 250 times over the course of the investigation. But the White House and the president's outside lawyers are taking kind of a hands-off approach, sort of being deliberate about that, saying in statements that the White House has not received or been briefed on the special counsel's report and that Attorney General Barr will determine the appropriate next steps.

KELLY: And Sue, game out for us what moves we are watching for from the Hill. I will note the news that the Mueller report was done hadn't been out, I think, an hour barely before Adam Schiff, who chairs the House Intelligence Committee, who's coming up on the show, actually - before he had threatened to subpoena Mueller and produce the underlying documents. Are we looking at a big fight coming?

DAVIS: We don't know what the report says, but we know that just principal findings are not going to be enough. Congress has made clear they want to see the full report - very important. They want to see every document that Robert Mueller used in this investigation. They want those turned over to relevant committees. That's going to be a big fight...

KELLY: The how he got to his conclusions.

DAVIS: How he got to his conclusions to the evidence and all the evidence that didn't involve indictments. And also, Adam Schiff has said he would like to hear from Robert Mueller directly, and the question of whether and when he will come up to Capitol Hill is going to be a big one. I will also note Democrats are also saying, yes, this is over, but the Trump administration is still under investigation in places like the Southern District of New York. And that could play into what Congress does in investigations into this administration going forward.

KELLY: NPR congressional correspondent Susan Davis - and we were also speaking with NPR White House correspondent Tamara Keith. Thanks to you both.

DAVIS: You're welcome.

KEITH: You're welcome. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.