We all know that under Department of Justice (DOJ) guidelines Robert Mueller had to submit a report on his findings of criminal conduct to Attorney General William Barr. And we know that Barr has discretion, and may or may not release this so-called “criminal report” to Congress and to the public.
According to former federal prosecutor Nelson Cunningham, who wrote about this for The Daily Beast, the “counterintelligence report” will deal only with counterintelligence findings and not whether crimes were committed.
Thus it is this report that will address the question of whether or not there was collusion between Russia and Trump’s 2016 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 said, before adding:
“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 counterintelligence investigation must produce a report which will be shared with the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) along with all other agencies in the 17-member intelligence community.
The Counterintelligence Report Must Be Made Public
According to Cunningham:
“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.”
Cunningham maintains that this second report will go into detail about Russia’s efforts to interfere in 2016, as well as the nature of any links or cooperation between the Russians and the Trump campaign.
It will also disclose whether Trump and/or his associates and family members were intelligence assets being used by the Russians.
Federal Law Requires That Mueller’s Findings Be Given to Intelligence Committees
“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
It is now very 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 criminal elements of Mueller’s investigation were contained in the report that William Barr received on Friday. He might try to keep that report secret, but in fact the criminal aspects of Mueller’s probe have already been farmed out to other federal prosecutors, including the Southern District of New York (SDNY).
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.