What Will Happen When Mueller Drops His Report?

What Will Happen When Mueller Drops His Report?

Rumors that the Mueller investigation will wrap up soon are nearly as old as the investigation itself. But with the New York Times report in mid -February that the timeline for the end of the investigations is “within weeks,” and with CNN reporting the following week that the Justice Department is getting ready to announce the end of the investigation as early as this month, the conclusion of the investigation seems to be closer than ever.

However, what is still unclear is what exactly will happen once the investigation is concluded. What will Mueller actually do with the report he produces?

Whenever Mueller actually does get around to finishing his investigation, the first step will be to submit a report to Attorney General William Barr. Along with that report, he will submit a recommendation for whether the justice department should prosecute any specific individuals named in the filing.

After this bar will then send the findings, or at least a summary of them, to Congress. Trump has said that it will be “totally up to Bill Barr” as to whether or not the Mueller report is released to the public. 

Trump’s team prepares for the drop:

As the pressure builds with fresh allegations against Trump team members and ex-Trump Organization Associates coming almost on a weekly basis, Trump and his team have been scrambling to prepare for what could be explosive allegations in Mueller's report.

If the reports are in fact made public, and it is very likely that some portion of them will be, President Trump and his team must be prepared to answer any questions that the findings raise about his involvement in topics ranging from Russian meddling in the 2016 elections to Trump organization dealings with Russia regarding the Trump Tower project in Moscow, and perhaps even campaign finance fraud. 

Trump for his part seems to be unfazed by the threat of a report from Mueller's team. “I think what he’ll say is, ‘I told you all along there was nothing to any of this,’” a source close to the White House told the Hill. 

What the public will get to see:

Unfortunately for everyone who has been following the developments of the Mueller investigation over the past 23 months, the public is likely to see less of the Mueller reports if the information is sufficiently damaging. The more damaging the information, the less the public will see, and the less damaging the findings are, the more likely it is that the public will get to see the bulk of the report. 

"If the White House determines that the special counsel’s report contains no finding or conclusion that the president engaged in any unlawful conspiracies — what the White House refers to as ‘collusion’ — they might view the disclosure of the report to affirm their repeated messaging about the investigation and therefore to be in their political interest,” David Laufman, a former Department of Justice official who oversaw the Clinton email investigation, told Vanity Fair.

At the end of the day, it is still anyone's guess how much information will actually be in the report. It is also unclear how much of the report Attorney General Barr will actually send to Congress, and there is no official timeline for the Department of Justice to deliver such a summary to lawmakers.