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Mueller submits report on Russia investigation

Special Counsel Robert Mueller on Friday wrapped up his two-year investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 US election, submitting his report to the Justice Department on a high-stakes probe of Donald Trump and his campaign dubbed a “witchhunt” by the president.

What the report says is confidential, but Attorney General Bill Barr wrote in a letter to Congress that he might be able to summarize its “principal conclusions” as early as this weekend.

There was no indication of whether Trump himself, members of his family or former campaign advisers have been implicated in collusion with Russia or obstruction of justice, two of the main focuses of the investigation that has kept a cloud over Trump’s administration since he took office.

Barr said he would consult with his deputy, Rod Rosenstein, and Mueller to determine what else from the report can be released to Congress and the public.

“I remain committed to as much transparency as possible, and I will keep you informed as to the status of my review,” Barr said.

The filing of Mueller’s report came after weeks of intense speculation over whether Mueller, a former FBI director who has remained invisible while the investigation plodded ahead, would produce any indictments or evidence that would support the impeachment of Trump.

A senior Justice Department official told US media Friday that after charging some 34 individuals, including six former Trump associates, Mueller’s team did not foresee recommending any further indictments.

Trump has repeatedly denied any collusion between his election campaign and Moscow, lashing out at the investigation as an “illegal witch hunt” run by a team of biased investigators.

The White House responded to Friday’s development by saying it welcomes the delivery of the long-awaited report.

“The next steps are up to Attorney General Barr and we look forward to the process taking its course,” Trump spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said in a statement.

“The White House has not received or been briefed on the Special Counsel’s report.”

Earlier Friday on Fox Business News Trump ridiculed Mueller as someone without a public mandate “to make a determination on my presidency.”

“People will not stand for it,” Trump said.

“For two years we’ve gone through this nonsense, because there’s no collusion with Russia.

“And there’s no obstruction. They’ll say, oh, well, wait. There was no collusion; that was a hoax. But he obstructed in fighting against the hoax. OK? Think about that one for a second.”

– Elaborate Russian meddling –

The report caps the most disturbing investigation of a president in US history.

US intelligence and Mueller, in court filings, have described an elaborate effort by Moscow to manipulate the 2016 presidential election and disrupt the country’s democratic system.

Mueller described Russia government hackers and a social media troll farm in a concerted effort to boost Trump in the election over his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.

After seeing scores of unexplained contacts between the Trump campaign and Russians, the FBI launched a probe into possible collusion, which — after Trump fired FBI chief James Comey — was handed over to Mueller as an independent prosecutor.

Working in uncommon secrecy, Mueller’s team brought charges against three-dozen individuals and firms. Those included 25 Russians, and six former Trump aides: Paul Manafort, Rick Gates, Michael Flynn, Michael Cohen, George Papadopoulos, and Roger Stone.

Five have been convicted of various crimes, but none have been charged with conspiracy to collude with the Russians.

Democrats called immediately for the contents of Mueller’s report to be released.

“We look forward to getting the full Mueller report and related materials,” said Jerry Nadler, Democratic chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, which is to receive Barr’s summary.

“Transparency and the public interest demand nothing less. The need for public faith in the rule of law must be the priority.”

Those calls were echoed by Democratic presidential hopefuls including Senator Elizabeth Warren who urged: “Attorney General Barr — release the Mueller report to the American public. Now.”