US President Donald Trump has served the majority of his term under the cloud of the so-called Russia probe, an investigation which sought, in part, to determine whether his 2016 presidential campaign conspired with Russian agents to win the election.
That all may be coming to an end as soon as next week, when a report on the investigation is delivered to the Department of Justice. CNN reported Wednesday that newly appointed Attorney General William Barr could announce the completion of the probe next week.
The investigation began in its current form in May of 2017, when special counsel Robert Mueller, a career prosecutor and former FBI chief, was appointed to look into possible Russian election interference. Mueller has no power to indict the president, but there has been widespread speculation that his report could implicate the president in wrongdoing.
Critics of the investigation argue that no evidence has been presented publicly to link the president to a conspiracy to collude with Russian agents and have long-called for an end to the probe.
During a press conference on Wednesday, when asked whether he thought the report should be made public, Trump said it was up to Attorney General Barr.
“That’ll be totally up to the new attorney general who is a tremendous man,” Trump said.
Exactly how much of the report the attorney general releases to the public is unclear.
The regulations that grant Mueller his authority require him to submit a confidential report to the attorney general, which does not necessarily have to be provided to Congress or the public. Barr has said that Justice Department rules prohibit the disclosure of derogatory information about individuals who have not been charged with a crime.
While the inquiry has yet to prosecute any US citizen for a crime of conspiracy to collude in election fraud, it has led to guilty pleas from seven Trump associates. All of the pleas are to process crimes, such as providing false statements to investigators or Congress, or to financial crimes.