The nearly two-year investigation into foreign interference in the 2016 US presidential election, including whether anyone tied to President Donald Trump's campaign cooperated with Russia to get him elected, came to an end March 22, when former FBI director Robert Mueller delivered his report to US Attorney General William Barr. On Sunday, Barr sent his summary to Congress, concluding that Mueller's findings didn't show the Trump campaign conspired with Russia.
While Mueller's investigation has already led to the indictments of six of Trump's advisers, along with 26 Russian nationals including some on charges of hacking, no new indictments are expected, according to CBS News (both CBS News and CNET are owned by CBS). US law makes it unlikely that a sitting president can be indicted, which is why Mueller pursued Trump's top collaborators from the 2016 campaign.
The president wasted no time responding to Sunday's developments. He tweeted: "No Collusion, No Obstruction, Complete and Total EXONERATION."
But even as Mueller's investigation didn't establish any conspiracy on the part of the president, it also made no definitive determination on obstruction of justice, CBS News reported. Barr's letter quotes Mueller as saying that "while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him" on the matter of obstruction.
This isn't where things end. The question now is whether all — or parts — of the report will be made public, which is up to Barr. The law doesn't require the Department of Justice to release a report on a special counsel investigation. But the president indicated March 20 that he wants the report released, saying "Let people see it." And politicians from both major parties have said they want the full report released.
In the meantime, what Mueller found during his 675-day investigation could lead to a widening of the partisan divide in the US, with Trump supporters likely to view the final results of the Mueller probe as exonerating the president, while his detractors see the report's contents and existing indictments as ample proof of wrongdoing.
As soon as it's available, we'll share instructions on how to download and/or access the Mueller report online. But between now and then, here are six things you should know:
Why we expect the Mueller report to be released to the public
The decision on whether to release the Mueller report to the public rests with Barr, who has to determine if it's in the public's best interest to read the report. However, during his Senate confirmation hearings in January, Barr told senators he wanted to release as much of the report as possible, "consistent with the law," as reported by CBS News.
In addition to the president, other top Democratic and Republican lawmakers have said they want the full report released. That includes House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Texas Sen. Marco Rubio.
What the public won't get to see
Because the report involves foreign relations and intelligence gathering, it's likely to contain classified and sensitive information that may compromise sources and have implications for national security. It's also likely to contain information on why Mueller didn't prosecute certain individuals — information the Justice Department doesn't usually disclose, according to CBS News. As a result, some parts of the report may be withheld altogether and other parts could be heavily redacted.
Who's been indicted so far
As detailed by The New York Times, 32 people have been charged with crimes by Mueller — including 26 Russian nationals who are unlikely to stand trial. Those indictments include charges against 12 Russian hackers alleged to have been behind cyberattacks in 2016 against the Democratic National Committee and against 13 Russians for spreading disinformation on social media, as well as the propaganda efforts' chief accountant.
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