Special Council Robert Mueller (R) has concluded his investigation into the Russian government’s interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. As required by law, Mueller today delivered his final report to Attorney General William Barr (R).
Investigations into Russian interference began in 2016 under the authority of the U.S. Department of Justice. After taking office in 2017, Attorney General Jeff Sessions (R) recused himself from the Russia investigation because, as a senator, he had contacts with Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak before the election. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein (R) served as acting attorney general with regard to this investigation.
After Trump fired then Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director James Comey (R), and then made controversial comments tying that firing to the Russia investigation, Rosenstein appointed Mueller to continue the investigation as special council on May 17, 2017.
Over the course of the Mueller investigation, various indictments and criminal referrals have been made against Russian nationals involved with election interference. Additional indictments were made against some officials associated with the Trump campaign, including Michael Flynn, Paul Manafort, and Roger Stone, for matters not directly linked to Russian interference. A former Trump attorney, Michael Cohen, was also charged with campaign finance violations and fraud. Other sealed indictments have likely been made, but this is unconfirmed and details have not been released. (Ed. note, March 24: A summary report submitted by Barr states that no further indictments are recommended, and no sealed indictments have yet to be made public.)
The law does not require that the special council report be made public, however the attorney general has the authority to release it if he chooses. The U.S. House of Representatives voted this month 420-0 in a nonbinding resolution that called for the report to be released to Congress and to the public (with redaction of classified material or confidential grand jury testimony). Trump has also said that he believes the report should be made public.
In his official notification to Congress that the investigation had been completed, Barr states that he “may be in a position to advise you of the Special Council’s principle conclusions as soon as this weekend.” He additionally stated that he is consulting with Rosenstein and Mueller to “determine what other information from the report can be released to Congress and the public,” and that he is “committed to as much transparency as possible.”