Mueller de­liv­ers Trump-Rus­sia probe re­port

No new in­dict­ments ex­pected; at­tor­ney gen­eral may brief con­gres­sional lead­ers this week­end

The Buffalo News - - FRONT PAGE - By Sharon LaFraniere and Katie Ben­ner NEW YORK TIMES

WASH­ING­TON – Spe­cial coun­sel Robert Mueller on Fri­day de­liv­ered a re­port on his in­quiry into Rus­sian in­ter­fer­ence in the 2016 elec­tion to At­tor­ney Gen­eral Wil­liam Barr, the Jus­tice Depart­ment said, bring­ing to a close an in­ves­ti­ga­tion that has con­sumed the na­tion and cast a shadow over Pres­i­dent Trump for nearly two years.

Barr told con­gres­sional lead­ers in a let­ter that he may brief them on the spe­cial coun­sel’s “prin­ci­pal con­clu­sions” as early as this week­end, a sur­pris­ingly fast turn­around for a re­port an­tic­i­pated for months. The at­tor­ney gen­eral said he “re­mained com­mit­ted to as much trans­parency as pos­si­ble.”

In an ap­par­ent en­dorse­ment of an in­ves­ti­ga­tion that Trump has re­lent­lessly at­tacked as a “witch hunt,” Barr said Jus­tice Depart­ment of­fi­cials never had to in­ter­vene to keep him from tak­ing an in­ap­pro­pri­ate or un­war­ranted step. The depart­ment’s reg­u­la­tions would have re­quired Barr to in­form the lead­ers of the House and Se­nate Ju­di­ciary com­mit­tees about any such in­ter­ven­tions in his let­ter.

A se­nior Jus­tice Depart­ment of­fi­cial said Mueller would not rec­om­mend new in­dict­ments, a state­ment aimed at end­ing spec­u­la­tion that Trump or other key fig­ures might be charged down the line. With depart­ment of­fi­cials stress­ing that Mueller’s in­quiry was over and his of­fice clos­ing, the ques­tion for both Trump’s crit­ics and de­fend­ers was whether the pros­e­cu­tors con­demned the pres­i­dent’s be­hav­ior, ex­on­er­ated him in their re­port – or nei­ther. The pres­i­dent’s lawyers were al­ready gird­ing for a pos­si­ble fight over whether they could as­sert ex­ec­u­tive priv­i­lege to keep parts of the re­port se­cret.

Since Mueller’s ap­point­ment in May 2017, his team has fo­cused on how Rus­sian op­er­a­tives sought to sway the out­come of the 2016 pres­i­den­tial race and whether any­one tied to the Trump cam­paign, wit­tingly or un­wit­tingly, co­op­er­ated with them. While the in­quiry, started months

Re­port on Page A6

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Spe­cial coun­sel Robert Mueller’s nearly two-year in­ves­ti­ga­tion has con­sumed the na­tion.

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