Attorney General William Barr may have just become the most important man in the country after Special Counsel Robert Mueller concluded his nearly two-year investigation and handed him his final report. Mueller’s passing over the final report is pursuant to legal requirements of a special counsel.
Now, the entire report is in Barr’s hands and the decision to release the report to Congress or to the public is his to make.
“There are federal rules that dictate how a special counsel operates and how Barr should handle Mueller’s report. This is only the second case where these rules will be put to the test — the first time was 20 years ago when a special counsel investigated the deadly siege in Waco, Texas,” CNN reports.
The regulations say Mueller should give Barr a “confidential report” explaining why he charged some people and didn’t prosecute others. Barr is then required to notify Congress that he received that report from Mueller. But there isn’t anything in the regulations that directs Barr to issue a final, comprehensive report of his own — or to release Mueller’s confidential report.
Barr announced the conclusion of the special counsel investigation in a letter he wrote to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsay Graham, Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, and Ranking Member Doug Collins.
In the letter, Barr said Mueller acted in accordance with the law and did nothing “so inappropriate or unwarranted” that the Justice Department should take action against him, ABC News reports. Further, Barr said he “may be in a position to advise you of the Special Counsel’s principal conclusions as soon as this weekend.”
Here’s more, from ABC News:
After reviewing Mueller’s report, Barr will then send what he has described as his own “report” on the Mueller investigation to the top Democrats and Republicans on the House and Senate judiciary committees. Barr has promised to be as transparent as possible, but it’s unclear how extensive or detailed Barr’s own “report” to Congress will be.
Sources who have spoken to President Donald Trump told ABC News that his initial reaction to Friday’s news was that he’s “glad it’s over.”
“The next steps are up to Attorney General Barr, and we look forward to the process taking its course. The White House has not received or been briefed on the Special Counsel’s report,” White House press secretary Sarah Sanders tweeted on Friday afternoon.
Read the letter Attorney General Barr sent to the congressional committees below, via NPR:
Dear Chairman Graham, Chairman Nadler, Ranking Member Feinstein, and Ranking Member Collins:
I write to notify you pursuant to 28 C.F.R § 600.9(a)(3) that Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III has concluded his investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election and related matters. In addition to this notification, the Special Counsel regulations require that I provide you with “a description and explanation of instances (if any) in which the Attorney General” or acting Attorney General “concluded that a proposed action by a Special Counsel was so inappropriate or unwarranted under established Departmental practices that it should not be pursued.” 28 C.F.R § 600.9(a)(3). There were no such instances during the Special Counsel’s investigation.
The Special Counsel has submitted to me today a “confidential report explaining the prosecution and declination decisions” he has reached, as required by 28 C.F.R § 600.8(c). I am reviewing the report and anticipate that I may be in a position to advise you of the Special Counsel’s principal conclusions as soon as this weekend.
Separately, I intend to consult with Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein and Special Counsel Mueller to determine what other information from the report can be released to Congress and the public consistent with the law, including the Special Counsel regulations, and the Department’s long-standing practices and policies. I remain committed to as much transparency as possible, and I will keep you informed as to the status of my review.
Finally, the Special Counsel regulations provide that “the Attorney General may determine that public release of” this notification “would be in the public interest.” 28 C.F.R § 600.9(c). I have so determined, and I will disclose this letter to the public after delivering it to you.
William P. Barr