Robert Mueller completes Russia probe

March 23, 2019
Washington: counsel Robert Mueller has submitted a confidential report to Attorney General William Barr, signalling an end to the nearly two-year Russia investigation, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) said on Friday.

According to The Washington Post, the DOJ notified Congress late on Friday that it had received Mueller’s report but did not describe its contents.

The report was delivered earlier Friday afternoon to the office of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein who appointed Mueller in May 2017 and, within minutes, to Barr, CNN reported, citing a DOJ official.

The official described the report as “comprehensive.”

No details of Mueller’s findings have been released. It is not clear how soon they will be made public, reports Xinhua.

In a letter to House and Senate judiciary leaders, Barr said he “may be in a position to advise you of the special counsel’s principal conclusions as soon as this weekend.”

The attorney general also said he remains committed “to as much transparency as possible” and would keep them informed “as to the status of my review.”

The Mueller-led inquiry focused on possible collusion between Donald Trump’s campaign and Moscow during the 2016 presidential elections and whether the president obstructed justice.

The White House said in a statement that it has not received or been briefed on the special counsel’s report.

“The next steps are up to Attorney General Barr, and we look forward to the process taking its course,” the statement added.

Mueller is required to submit a report to Barr at the conclusion of his investigation. Barr, in turn, is required to notify Congress about Mueller’s findings.

According to special counsel regulations, the report must explain Mueller’s “prosecution or declination decisions.” Barr has said he will write his own report summarizing Mueller’s findings.

In a joint statement, Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called upon 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,” the statement said.

The probe, which has shadowed Trump’s presidency, has led to felony charges against 34 people, including six Trump associates, and three companies.

CNN reported Mueller is “still special counsel” but his investigation is “complete” and the special counsel office is not recommending any further indictments, according to DOJ officials.

Trump has repeatedly dismissed any collusion between his campaign and Moscow, while slamming the wide-ranging inquiry as a “hoax” or “witch hunt.” Russia has denied any meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

Trump has been ramping up efforts to discredit the Mueller report.

“I have a deputy, appoints a man to write a report on me, to make a determination on my presidency,” Trump said in an interview with Fox Business Network released on Friday morning. “People will not stand for it.”

Earlier this week, Trump told reporters he doesn’t understand why Mueller is writing a report, but he wants the general public to see it anyway.

Protests rock Algeria for fifth consecutive week
Algiers, March 22 (IANS) Thousands of Algerians took to the streets for the fifth Friday in a row to demand the resignation of the country’s ailing President.

Demonstrators yet again called for long-serving President Abdelaziz Bouteflika to step down, Efe news reported.

“Today is a great day. Today all Algerians will come here and this regime will fall,” Ahmed A.l, a lawyer who took part in the protests alongside his wife and children, told EFE.

Early on Friday morning, families streamed into Grand Post Square in the centre of the capital Algiers as street vendors sold hats, scarves, flags and vuvuzelas to the growing crowd of protestors.

Thousands chanted anti-regime slogans such as “we want to bring down the regime” and carried anti-government signs.

Meanwhile, newly appointed Prime Minister Noureddine Bedoui – a former Interior Minister – and his Deputy Prime Minister Ramtane Lamamra have yet to successfully form a unity government and stabilize the increasingly volatile political situation.

Appointed by Bouteflika on March 11, Bedoui and Lamamra have called on civil society organizations and trade unions to work in consultation with the government, but many of these groups have openly sided with the demonstrators against the state.

Bouteflika renounced his bid for a fifth term in office on March 11 but also postponed the Presidential elections scheduled for April 18, a move seen by many in the North African country as an attempt to extend his and his supporters’ rule.

Protests against the president first broke out among soccer fans at matches several months ago, before spilling onto the streets of the capital and spreading to other cities in February.


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