Bloomberg News is reporting this morning that Special Counsel Robert Mueller is ready to issue the key findings in his final report on the Russia probe. Due to political considerations, however, he will not release his findings until after the midterm elections in November.
— Bloomberg (@business) October 17, 2018
According to reports, Mueller is facing intense pressure to either issue more indictments or shut down his investigation as soon as possible.
Bloomberg says that Mueller is ready to give his judgment on two very important areas that he has investigated:
- whether there were clear incidents of collusion between Russia and Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign, and
- whether the president took any actions that constitute obstruction of justice.
Mueller’s findings will not automatically be made public.
Regulations governing the special counsel’s probe state that Mueller can legally present his findings only to his boss, who is currently Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.
The regulations do, however, give Rosenstein some discretion in deciding what information is given to Congress and what information is given to the public.
The question of timing is critical, and many observers believe that Mueller has purposely waited until after the November 6th midterm elections. Democrats of course hope to take control of the House of Representatives after the election, and beginning in January.
There are many questions about the future of the probe itself. Trump has said he wants to replace Attorney General Jeff Sessions after the election. If that happens, Rosenstein also might resign or be fired by Trump after the election. This would give Mueller a new boss.
Rosenstein reportedly has told Mueller to wrap up the investigation as quickly as possible, according to Bloomberg.
But there is no information available at this time about any of the details of Mueller’s conclusions concerning his two areas of inquiry.
It now appears very unlikely that Mueller will take any actions over the next three weeks that could be turned into a campaign issue. Justice Department guidelines say prosecutors should avoid any major steps close to an election that could be seen as influencing the outcome.
Therefore it is now being speculated that the days and weeks immediately after the November 6 election will be critical.
So far, Mueller has secured more than two dozen indictments or guilty pleas. The biggest open question now is whether he will issue any additional indictments before wrapping up the investigation.
In addition to the president himself, it is possible that Mueller could indict former adviser Roger Stone. Members of the president’s family such as Donald Trump Jr., Eric Trump Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner have all been mentioned as possible subjects of federal indictments.
Mueller only recently submitted written questions to Trump’s lawyers regarding potential collusion with Russia, and his team may be seeking an interview with the president.
Therefore it is possible that new lines of inquiry could open up and additional time would be needed. As of now we can only speculate. But as soon as the midterm elections are over we may get some answers, and Mueller’s final report might finally be issued.