The investigation is over. Now what?
Mr. Mueller’s report could be brief or several hundred pages. It is now up to Mr. Barr to decide how much of it to share with Congress, and when. This could take days or weeks, another fevered waiting game.
The late Friday afternoon news dump in Washington is typically reserved space by those wishing to bury bad news. In the case of Mueller’s report, bad news is most assuredly in the eye of the beholder.
Will the report be the final word on whether Mr. Trump “colluded”? Find the answer to this and other questions here.
Trump’s lawyers offer a brief statement.
Shortly after the report was delivered, Jay Sekulow and Rudolph W. Giuliani, Mr. Trump’s personal lawyers, offered a brief statement:
“We’re pleased that the Office of Special Counsel has delivered its report to the Attorney General pursuant to the regulations,” they said. “Attorney General Barr will determine the appropriate next steps.”
Among those traveling with Mr. Trump to Mar-a-Lago aboard Air Force One on Friday was the new White House counsel, Pat Cipollone. The counsel’s office anticipates reviewing the report for possible issues related to executive privilege.
With the delivery of the report looming, in Florida, at the president’s Mar-a-Lago resort, Mr. Trump and his top aides stuck to business as usual: meeting with five Caribbean leaders, placing a phone call to Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, and, of course, tweeting.
But there was a sense of anxiety that hung over the day, and Mr. Trump’s tweets added to the confusion on a day that everyone around Mr. Trump were bracing for the end of the Russia investigation and what it might mean for his presidency.A confusing tweet by Mr. Trump at 1:22 pm seemed to roll back sanctions on North Korea, undermining his Treasury secretary, although later in the day, officials tried to clarify that Mr. Trump was talking about sanctions that were under consideration but not yet announced.
Bipartisan demands pour in to release the full report.
Mr. Trump has said that the report should be made public. But lawmakers are not relying on him.
In a joint statement, the two top Democrats in Congress, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senator Chuck Schumer said that “it is imperative for Mr. Barr to make the full report public and provide its underlying documentation and findings to Congress. Attorney General Barr must not give President Trump, his lawyers or his staff any ‘sneak preview’ of Special Counsel Mueller’s findings or evidence, and the White House must not be allowed to interfere in decisions about what parts of those findings or evidence are made public.”
Senator Mark Warner, Democrat of Virginia and ranking member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, echoed that sentiment.
“Congress and the American people deserve to judge the facts for themselves,” Mr. Warner said. “The special counsel’s report must be provided to Congress immediately, and the attorney general should swiftly prepare a declassified version of the report for the public. Nothing short of that will suffice.”
He pointedly added, “Any attempt by the Trump administration to cover up the results of this investigation into Russia’s attack on our democracy would be unacceptable.”
Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, and chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, stopped short of calling for full disclosure.
“I will work with Ranking Member Feinstein and our House Judiciary Committee colleagues to ensure as much transparency as possible, consistent with the law,” he said.
Only a few Justice Department officials have seen the report.
Only a handful of law enforcement officials have seen the report, according to a Justice Department spokeswoman, Kerri Kupec.
Justice Department officials notified the White House about 20 minutes before telling lawmakers, Ms. Kupec said. Mr. Barr’s chief of staff told Emmet Flood, the White House lawyer dealing with the Russia investigation.
A few members of Mr. Mueller’s office will stay on to help close down the office. Justice Department lawyers on the team planned to return to their positions, at least for now, Ms. Kupec said. Mr. Rosenstein planned to call Mr. Mueller to thank him for his service, she said.
Top Democrats warn Barr not to give the White House a sneak peek
In a joint statement, Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California and Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the top Senate Democrat, urged Mr. Barr not to allow the White House a “sneak preview” of the report before the public.
“Now that Special Counsel Mueller has submitted his report to the Attorney General, it is imperative for Mr. Barr to make the full report public and provide its underlying documentation and findings to Congress,” they said. “Attorney General Barr must not give President Trump, his lawyers or his staff any ‘sneak preview’ of Special Counsel Mueller’s findings or evidence, and the White House must not be allowed to interfere in decisions about what parts of those findings or evidence are made public.”
Democratic 2020 candidates focus on transparency.
Democratic presidential candidates wasted no time Friday evening demanding that the new report from the special counsel be made public immediately.
With no detailed information available about any findings in the report, Senators Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker and Kirsten Gillibrand sought to focus attention and pressure on how quickly Mr. Barr would release the full report.
“Attorney General Barr — release the Mueller report to the American public. Now,” Senator Warren wrote on Twitter.
“I am demanding the Mueller report be made immediately available for members of Congress and for the public. Anything short of full transparency will be detrimental to our country moving forward,” Senator Booker tweeted.
“Special counsel Mueller’s report should be made public without any delay,” Senator Gillibrand said. She also retweeted the news of the report along with three words: “See you Sunday.” That’s when Ms. Gillibrand is planning to formally kick off her campaign in front of Trump International Tower in New York.
Three additional candidates — Senator Amy Klobuchar, Julian Castro and former Representative John Delaney — also called for the release of the full report.
Cue the speculation.
Since the investigation began, Americans have been guessing about what, if anything, Mr. Mueller would uncover. Mr. Trump has used an all-purpose shorthand to describe his view of the inquiry: “witch hunt.”
James B. Comey, the former F.B.I. director who was fired by Mr. Trump for his role in the investigation, in Op-Ed published Thursday in The New York Times, urged the country to look at the inquiry in a different way, beyond partisan politics.
“I am rooting for a demonstration to the world — and maybe most of all to our president and his enablers — that the United States has a justice system that works because there are people who believe in it and rise above personal interest and tribalism,” he wrote.
Democrats have already started investigating the president.
Many Democrats, notably Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California, have played down the prospect of bringing impeachment proceedings against the president.
But several House committees have started investigations into the president’s possible connection to Russia, the role of several members of his family may have played, and a broad menu of other matters, including his personal finances.
How we got here.
The Mueller investigation has had many plotlines, crossing oceans and delivering indictments. It can be confusing to keep track of it all. Take a look at this story to help sort it out.
Here is what we know so far.
Trump undermined the report before it arrived.
Mr. Trump has been trying to lay the predicate for undermining the report. On Wednesday he said of Mr. Mueller, “But it’s sort of interesting that a man, out of the blue, just writes a report.”
Mr. Mueller did not randomly or arbitrarily decide to write a report. It is mandated by regulations on the appointment of a special counsel.
“At the conclusion of the special counsel’s work, he or she shall provide the Attorney General with a confidential report explaining the prosecution or declination decisions reached by the Special Counsel,” the regulations say.
Then, in an interview aired on Fox on Friday, he went on to question the authority of the Justice Department to render a judgment on an elected official. “Well, it’s always interesting to me because a deputy that didn’t get any votes appoints a man that didn’t get any votes — he’s going to write a report on me,” Mr. Trump said. “Comey’s his best friend.”
The special counsel role is not an elected office, but the same can be said of the attorney general, deputy attorney general, or hundreds of other top officials serving in the government. Special counsels appointments occur when a potential conflict of interest arises from the executive branch of government investigating itself. Mr. Mueller was appointed by Rod J. Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general, who was in turn nominated by Mr. Trump.
James B. Comey, the former F.B.I. director, has denied that he is “best friends” with Mr. Mueller, and Mr. Comey’s attorney has said the two men are friendly colleagues, but “don’t really have a personal relationship.” (Mr. Barr, however, has said that he and Mr. Mueller are personal friends.)
The beat goes on in the Southern District of New York.
The senior prosecutor who led the case against Mr. Trump’s former personal lawyer and fixer, Michael D. Cohen, announced Friday that he would leave his job as deputy United States attorney in Manhattan. Mr. Cohen has pleaded guilty to making hush payments to two women who said they had affairs with Mr. Trump. The case, which has the potential to threaten Mr. Trump’s presidency, is separate from the special counsel investigation and will continue.
Linda Qiu, Carl Hulse, Katie Benner, and Michael Shear contributed reporting.
Follow Michael Tackett on Twitter @tackettdc
Follow Eileen Sullivan @ESullivanNYT