Mueller Submits His Investigation Report & Here Is What Happens Next

After 22 months of investigations, Special Counsel Robert Mueller officially submitted his report on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election to Attorney General William Barr on Friday, The New York Times reports. While the special investigation into Russian involvement has ended, the results haven’t been released to the public yet and no one knows what will happen next after it has been reviewed by the Justice Department. 

In May of 2017, Mueller was appointed the head of the special counsel investigation by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. Rosenstein gave Mueller permission to investigation “the Russian government's efforts to interfere with the 2016 presidential election,” and on “any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation.” This included “any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump.” For nearly two years, speculation on Mueller’s findings has been a regular topic of discussion. In particular, Democrats and Republicans are curious as to whether or not the investigation would reveal any connections between the 2016 Trump campaign and Russian officials to influence the 2016 presidential elections. Trump has frequently denied any collusion between him and the Russian government, Huffington Post reports. 

Attorney General William Barr wrote in a letter to Congressional leaders on Friday, per Fox News, that he has received the Mueller report, and said that he “may be in a position to advise you of the Special Counsel’s principal conclusions as soon as this weekend. Barr also wrote that this may include any “prosecution or declination decisions” Mueller has made. 

It’s unclear what will happen next, including whether or not Barr will release the report to Congress or the public. Barr holds the power as to how much is actually revealed from the special counsel’s report. 

But the legislative and judicial branches will have a role in the report’s reveal too. 

According to The Washington Post, the attorney general is required by law to show his own briefing on the special counsel’s discoveries to the heads of the House and Senate Judiciary Committees—specifically to Republican Sen. Lindsay Graham and Democratic Rep. Jerry Nadler.  Both will be able to decide how much or if any of Barr’s briefing on the report will be released to the public. No one knows exactly what they will do.

Of course, Barr could decide to release the report in its entirety, which would let everyone know what Mueller concluded in his report, and what actions he did or didn’t recommend to take. 

In the letter to Congressional leaders, Barr said he would speak with Mueller and Rosenstein to discuss “what other information from the report can be released and the public consistent with the law,” and that he’s “committed to as much transparency as possible.” The report could not be release in full. 

If it is not, Congress could subpoena for the entire report. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff has said that his committee “will take it to court if necessary,” including to subpoena the final report.

One thing is clear: this is far from being over.