Special Counsel Mueller to make first public comments on Russia probe




  • In US
  • 2019-05-29 14:56:51Z
  • By By Makini Brice and Andy Sullivan
U.S. Special Counsel Mueller speaks about Russia investigation at the Justice Department in Washington
U.S. Special Counsel Mueller speaks about Russia investigation at the Justice Department in Washington  

By Makini Brice and Andy Sullivan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller on Wednesday will make his first public comments on his investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, the Justice Department said.

Mueller will not take questions after his statement, scheduled for 11 a.m. (1500 GMT) at the Justice Department.

Officials in the White House and Congress said they had been

notified that Mueller might make a statement but did not know what he was going to say.

A redacted version of the 448-page Mueller report was published in April, concluding the campaign of President Donald Trump did not engage in a criminal conspiracy with Moscow to win the White House. Mueller declined to make a judgment on whether Trump obstructed justice, although the report outlined 10 instances in which Trump tried to impede the investigation.

Trump has said the two-year investigation exonerated him after repeatedly denouncing it as a witch hunt. The investigation ensnared dozens of people, including several top Trump advisers and a series of Russian nationals and companies.

Among them are his former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, who is serving 7 1/2 years in prison for financial crimes and lobbying violations, and his former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, who recently began a three-year sentence for campaign-finance violations and lying to Congress.

Since the report's release, Democratic lawmakers have tried without success to get the full report and underlying evidence. The House Judiciary Committee also is negotiating for Mueller to testify at a hearing.

Trump has said Mueller should not testify before Congress but that the final decision was up to Attorney General William Barr. Democrats have denounced Barr, saying he misrepresented the special counsel's findings.

Mueller appeared to have misgivings at one point as well, complaining to Barr in March that he had initially disclosed his main findings in an incomplete way that caused public confusion. In congressional testimony in April, Barr dismissed Mueller's concerns as "a bit snitty."

Barr now is leading a review of the origins of the Russia investigation in what is the third known inquiry into the FBI's handling of the matter. Trump harbors suspicions that the Democratic administration of President Barack Obama started the investigation in 2016 to undermine his presidency.


(Watch Mueller live at 11 a.m. https://www.reuters.com/live/mueller-report).


(Reporting by Makini Brice; Additional reporting by Andy Sullivan and Mark Hosenball; Writing by Makini Brice and Andy Sullivan; Editing by Tim Ahmann and Bill Trott)

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