Under guidelines set out by the Department of Justice (DOJ) special counsel Robert Mueller must submit a report on his findings of criminal conduct to Attorney General William Barr. He may or may not release the so-called “criminal report” to Congress and to the public.
But former federal prosecutor Nelson Cunningham wrote for The Daily Beast that the Mueller will issue a second report that can’t be shielded from either Congress or the public. And this report will deal with counterintelligence findings and whether or not there was collusion between Russia and Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.
“From the very beginning, Mueller has worn two hats and borne two missions relating to the Russia investigation,” wrote Cunningham, a former prosecutor and former White House counsel.
“The most public and familiar one is as a criminal investigator under the special counsel regulations,” he continued. “But Mueller has also carried a second charge, as a counterintelligence expert, with a much broader charge to determine and report the scope of any interference and any links to the Trump campaign — what Trump himself might refer to as ‘collusion.’”
The Russia probe first began as a counterintelligence investigation. Later Mueller was given the additional task of uncovering whether any crimes were committed.
The central mission of a counterintelligence investigation is to produce a report, Cunningham argued, which will be shared with the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and relevant agencies of the 17-member intelligence community.
One of those reports, “Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent US Elections,” was shared in early January 2017 with incoming President Donald Trump.
That particular report publicly revealed that Vladimir Putin had personally directed efforts to undermine Hillary Clinton’s campaign to aide Trump, and Mueller’s counterintelligence report would also become public.
“Significantly, unlike a final criminal report, a Mueller counterintelligence report cannot be bottled up. By statute it must be shared with Congress.”
“The House and Senate intelligence committees are legally entitled to be given reports, in writing, of significant intelligence and counterintelligence activities or failures. Mueller’s findings will certainly qualify.”
“It is Mueller’s counterintelligence report we should really be anticipating.”
“It will provide a much richer, broader narrative description of Russia’s effort to interfere in 2016, the nature of any links or cooperation between the Russians and the Trump campaign, and whether Trump or his associates were witting or unwitting assets for the Russians (including by obstructing the investigation)—as well perhaps as conclusions for action.”
“Neither the special counsel regulations nor Attorney General Barr’s discretion will keep Mueller’s counterintelligence findings from Congress.”
“Mueller’s second report, with detailed findings and counterintelligence conclusions, will make its way to the intelligence committees.”
“And then, the final chapter of Mueller’s Russia investigation—congressional consideration of the implications for the Trump presidency—may begin.”
Neither Trump Nor Barr Can Prevent Mueller’s Report on Collusion From Being Made Public
This article makes clear that the most critical elements of Robert Mueller’s report and findings will be seen by Congress and the American people. These elements deal with national security and intelligence risks posed by the Trump presidency.
The other elements of Mueller’s investigation — those that deal with the commission of crimes — might possibly be kept secret by William Barr. But in fact most of the criminal aspects of his probe have been farmed out by Mueller to federal prosecutors in other offices, such as the Southern District of New York.
In short, all of Donald Trump’s crimes, including possible treason and conspiracy against the United States, will soon be known to the American people. And he will soon be paying the price for those crimes.
I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.