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Mueller Delivers Findings From Russia Investigation To Attorney General Barr

Mar 22, 2019
Originally published on March 22, 2019 6:36 pm
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MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

The investigation is over. Special counsel Robert Mueller has submitted his report to Attorney General William Barr, thus marking the end of his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and also possible obstruction of justice by President Trump. We are going to hear from our White House correspondent in a minute. First, NPR's Carrie Johnson, who is at the Justice Department. Hey, Carrie.

CARRIE JOHNSON, BYLINE: Hey, Mary Louise.

KELLY: I got to start with the million-dollar question - do we know what it says?

JOHNSON: We don't know what it says. We do know that this report was delivered here at the Justice Department to the deputy attorney general's office sometime earlier this afternoon by a security officer working for the special counsel Robert Mueller. Within minutes, the deputy's office passed it along to the new attorney general, Bill Barr, and Barr has told Congress he's sifting through the report now. He hopes to tell lawmakers about the principal conclusions and findings as early as this weekend. That could also include the public; we all could know a little bit more by this weekend.

KELLY: Right. So just to remind people of the process that is now in motion - the attorney general has it, he will hand it over to lawmakers, as he says, maybe as early as this weekend. What happens then, in terms of where it goes?

JOHNSON: Yes. And just to verify, Mary Louise, he is unlikely to hand over exactly what Robert Mueller, the special counsel, has sent...

KELLY: Right.

JOHNSON: ...At the end of this nearly two-year investigation. He's going to prepare his own summary and send that to the Hill. We do know that the Mueller report is described as comprehensive, but we don't know what it says or exactly how long it is. We also know the Justice Department has notified the White House Counsel's office that the report is in, but it has not shared the report with the White House at this time.

KELLY: Let me ask you, what are you looking for, Carrie, having covered this since Robert Mueller began this investigation all the way back in May 2017?

JOHNSON: You know, Mary Louise, one of the things that surprised me about this Bill Barr letter, this attorney general letter, to the key members of the House and Senate Judiciary Committees is this - there has been speculation that perhaps Robert Mueller had wanted to take certain steps along the way in this investigation, and that he had been overridden or rejected by DOJ brass. We now know, according to Attorney General Bill Barr, that never happened. There was no such instance where DOJ overrode a decision-making by the special counsel team.

What we're waiting to find out is whether or not anybody else will be charged with crimes in connection with this investigation. We do know that certain matters have been farmed out to prosecutors in New York and Virginia and Washington, D.C. and potentially elsewhere. But we don't know whether any other indictments are coming, with respect to the centrality of the Miller probe. At this point, it kind of looks like not, given that the investigation is over, but we're waiting for final word on that now.

KELLY: OK. And just to be crystal clear, we don't know when the public may get a glimpse of this, and we don't know how much we may ever know of the full report?

JOHNSON: That's exactly right. As part of his confirmation hearings, the attorney general, Bill Barr, said he's going to lean in favor of transparency, but when it comes to national security secrets - remember; part of this was a counterintelligence investigation into Russian activities - and when it comes to basically bad-mouthing people who may have done some things that were not so smart but not illegal, it's not clear how much about that we're going to find out in the days to come.

KELLY: Carrie, before I let you go, would you give us just a little bit of the scene at the Justice Department? Reporters have been camped out there all day thinking maybe this thing was going to drop.

JOHNSON: All day, Mary Louise. I've been here for three days straight. It's been feeling like almost a hostage situation in some ways.

KELLY: (Laughter) Yeah.

JOHNSON: Except we were able to order pizza and kind of lean on each other. The anticipation and the anxiety had grown very high by this afternoon, and we now know that after nearly two years, the work of this special counsel is done. He's going to stay in office a little while longer, close up shop, but eventually, the members of his team, who have been on detail from the Justice Department and the FBI...

KELLY: Yeah.

JOHNSON: ...Are going to go back to their old jobs or find new ones.

KELLY: Carrie Johnson, I suspect we'll have occasion to speak to you again as the evening unfolds. Eat your pizza and get ready. Thanks so much.

JOHNSON: (Laughter) Thank you. Bye-bye. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.