After two years of feverish speculation, anticipation, and hype, Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s near-mythological report into Russian interference in the 2016 election—and President Donald Trump’s possible involvement in it—has finally landed, freeing us from one long national nightmare and possibly plunging us into a whole new one.
On Friday afternoon, multiple outlets reported that Mueller had delivered his report to the Department of Justice.
Now that the report has officially been filed, the question remains: Will we ever see its contents? Attorney General William Barr has plenty of latitude to determine what, and how much, of Mueller’s investigation will see the light of day, although he said during his confirmation process that “the public and Congress be informed of the results of the special counsel’s work.”
On Friday, Barr issued a statement to congressional legislators saying that he had received the report and that he would review its contents.
“I may be in a position to advise you of the special counsel’s principle conclusions as soon as this weekend,” he said.
Should he be less than forthcoming, though, Democrats have threatened to subpoena Barr to make sure the report is made public.
While the contents of the report itself are not yet public, that hasn’t stopped people from freaking out about its mere existence:
Already, Mueller’s team has indicted more than 30 people and organizations as part of its investigation, including former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, and Trump 2016 campaign chair Paul Manafort, who was sentenced to a combined total of 7.5 years in prison, pending good behavior. The president, meanwhile, has spent the past two years bashing the report as a “witch hunt” and repeatedly insisted there was “no collusion” between himself and the Russian government.
Update, 5:19 p.m. ET: The first reaction from the White House is out:
Update, 5:22 p.m. ET: Trump’s personal attorneys have also responded:
Update, 5:26 p.m. ET: 2020 presidential candidates are adding their names to the ever-growing list of statements.
Update, 5:31 p.m. ET: Here is the full text of Barr’s letter to the chairs and ranking members of the Senate and House Judiciary Committees:
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 or 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.
In other news, idiots are commenting on the day’s developments.
Update, 5:35 p.m. ET: Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer have now released a statement, calling for Mueller’s entire report to be made public.
Update, 5:40 p.m. ET: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s response:
Update, 5:45 p.m. ET: According to CNN, the Attorney General’s chief of staff read Barr’s letter to Congress to White House attorney Emmet Flood over the phone, since the White House has not received the report at all yet.
Update, Sunday, 2:20 p.m. ET: Citing Justice Department sources, multiple reporters are saying that Attorney General William P. Barr will not submit the principal conclusions of Mueller’s report to Congress today:
This is a developing story and is being updated.