“Attorney General Bill Barr is preparing to announce as early as next week the completion of Robert Mueller‘s Russia investigation, with plans for Barr to submit to Congress soon after a summary of Mueller’s confidential report, according to people familiar with the plans.”
“A senior U.S. Justice Department official shot down expectations that Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office will deliver next week a highly anticipated report on its investigation into possible Russian interference in U.S. elections.”
“Any reports that the Special Counsel’s report will be delivered to the DOJ during the week of Feb. 28 are incorrect,” the official said.’
So what’s going on here, and why has the Mueller report been delayed? The simple answer seems to be that there is much more investigating to still to be done by Mueller’s team. And Bill Barr is not going to try to pressure the special counsel to release his report prematurely, even if that is what Donald Trump wants him to do.
According to a report in the Washington Post on where the investigation stands, former U.S. Attorneys and legal observers see many loose ends that don’t appear to be near to being tied up.
The report states:
“Predictions for when special counsel Robert S. Mueller III will deliver his much-anticipated report to the attorney general have yo-yoed between days and weeks. Two things are more definitive: In January, Mueller extended the grand jury for an additional six months, and many pieces of the probe will continue well past its conclusion, be it two weeks or two months from now.”
According to Seth Abramson, a former criminal defense attorney who was interviewed by the Post, “Certain things can’t be wrapped up yet.” Then he added:
“There are uncharged crimes, outstanding subpoenas, pending cooperation agreements and unresolved, possibly sealed cases, he said, which would seem to be snipped in the middle if Mueller’s report was issued imminently.”
And former federal prosecutor Joyce White Vance said there is much more going on with the investigation of former national security adviser Michael Flynn:
“Flynn’s deal strongly implies there is more to come from Mueller. The [Flynn sentencing] memo, with its many redactions, tells us something significant and important is coming, even though we don’t know exactly what it is.”
The report says that Mueller has been farming out “cases to other prosecutors’ offices for months: Washington attorney Gregory Craig and Michael Cohen were sent to the Southern District of New York for federal prosecutors to handle.”
Former solicitor general Neal Katyal has also commented that the Mueller probe “may or may not be done” but that his investigator’s groundwork may carry on the foreseeable future.
“He [Mueller] could file charges or unseal a large number of indictments at the close of the investigation, then let the Department of Justice prosecute them,” Katyal said, then he added:
“Their powers and scope go well beyond Mr. Mueller’s circumscribed mandate. So whenever Mr. Mueller turns in his report, do not assume that things are over.”
If we go back and analyze the original reporting from CNN that the Mueller report would be released next week, we see that they cite as they source “people familiar with the plans.”
Usually this is an indication that the information was given to (leaked) to CNN from someone within the administration. And it is very likely that it was done intentionally, in an attempt to prematurely end the Mueller investigation.
One thing we have learned over the past few days is that no matter how much Donald Trump wants to end the Mueller probe, it won’t be over any time soon.
And we have also learned that whatever game Trump is trying to play, his new attorney general, William Barr, is not playing along.