Speculation has run rampant for months over whether Robert Mueller’s investigation into alleged collusion between the 2016 Trump campaign team and the Kremlin would soon come to an end — and now, it seems we have our answer.
At long last, the special counsel has sent its final report to Attorney General William Barr, proving true an earlier report from ABC News that alleged Mueller wouldn’t be handing down any more indictments.
Mueller’s team has indicted a whopping total of 37 individuals over the course of the investigation, but it looks like one isn’t on the way for President Donald Trump.
No more indictments
Citing unnamed sources and a months-old letter from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to then-Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Chuck Grassley, ABC News chief White House correspondent Jonathan Karl reported on Thursday that there were no further indictments coming from Mueller’s investigation.
Karl’s report was verified on Friday when it was revealed that Mueller had submitted his report to the Justice Department.
Per the rules set for the special counsel, that report could only be sent once the investigation had concluded — meaning that now, there can’t be any more indictments coming from Mueller’s team.
Is it finally over?
Of course, that hasn’t stopped Democrats from hoping President Trump will wind up in hot water over Mueller’s findings. But according to Karl’s report, that likely won’t be the case.
Since Trump hasn’t been — and now won’t be — charged with a crime pursuant to the investigation, Karl says all signs point to Trump being off the hook altogether.
“Punishing wrongdoers through judicial proceedings is only one part of the [Justice] Department’s mission,” Rosenstein wrote in his June 2018 letter to Grassley. “We also have a duty to prevent the disclosure of information that would unfairly tarnish people who are not charged with crimes.
“In fact, disclosing uncharged allegations against American citizens without a law-enforcement need is considered to be a violation of a prosecutor’s trust,” Rosenstein added.
The bottom line
The bottom line? According to Karl: “Do not expect a harsh condemnation of President Donald Trump or any of his associates” in Mueller’s report “if they have not been charged with crimes.”
Indeed, Rosenstein writes:
No matter who an investigation involves — an ordinary citizen, a local or state politician, a campaign official, a foreign agent, an officer of the federal legislative, executive, or judicial branch — agents and prosecutors are obligated to protect its confidentiality.
This doesn’t mean that AG Barr can’t release Mueller’s report to the public, however. It simply means that if Mueller keeps with the long-standing DOJ policies mentioned by Rosenstein, it is highly unlikely that any sort of disparaging information about Trump will be included in his final report, since Trump nor his associates were charged with any crimes — and now, they definitely won’t be.
When we can we expect to find out what is contained in those highly anticipated documents? Attorney General Barr wrote in a Friday letter to congressional leaders that they can expect to briefed on the report “as soon as this weekend.”
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.