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- The special counsel Robert Mueller is going to make his first public statement on the FBI’s Russia investigation Wednesday morning.
- The Justice Department announced that Mueller will speak from DOJ headquarters at 11 a.m. ET.
- Throughout the course of the two-year investigation, Mueller’s team spoke only through court filings and indictments, some of which were announced by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.
- The Washington Post reported that Mueller’s statement will be "substantial" and is expected to last about eight minutes.
- Mueller’s statement will come amid a firestorm over Attorney General William Barr’s portrayal of his findings in the Russia probe, and President Donald Trump’s subsequent efforts to cloud Mueller’s findings.
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The special counsel Robert Mueller will make his first public statement on the FBI’s Russia investigation Wednesday morning, the Justice Department announced.
Mueller is set to give his remarks at 11 a.m. ET from DOJ headquarters. The Washington Post reported that the statement will be "substantial" and is expected to last around eight minutes.
The development is monumental, because Mueller’s team was conspicuously silent throughout the course of the two-year investigation, choosing to speak only through court filings and indictments.
Mueller’s statement will come amid a firestorm over the way Attorney General William Barr characterized his final report in the investigation, and President Donald Trump’s subsequent efforts to cloud Mueller’s findings.
Before Mueller’s report was released to the public, the attorney general took the unusual step of releasing his own summary of the document. Barr’s "principal conclusions" left out critical context and allowed Trump and his allies to claim "complete and total exoneration," when in fact Mueller’s findings were far more ambiguous, especially in the obstruction-of-justice case against Trump.
Mueller’s team laid out an extensive roadmap of evidence against Trump, adding, "If we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the President clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state … Based on the facts and the applicable legal standards, however, we are unable to reach that judgment."
Mueller indicated in the report that it was up to Congress to investigate the obstruction question further. But Barr took it upon himself to announce, before the report was released, that Trump had not committed an obstruction offense.
Mueller’s report did not find sufficient evidence to charge Trump or anyone connected to his campaign with conspiracy related to Russia’s interference in the 2016 election.
But prosecutors prefaced that conclusion with a significant caveat: "The investigation established that the Russian government perceived it would benefit from a Trump presidency and worked to secure that outcome, and … the Campaign expected it would benefit electorally from information stolen and released through Russian efforts."
Barr is currently in a tug-of-war with Congress over releasing the unredacted Mueller report, its underlying evidence, and all grand jury material connected to it.
The House Judiciary Committee recently voted to hold Barr in contempt when he failed to meet a deadline to turn over the documents. But the Justice Department recently struck a deal with the House Intelligence Committee to turn over a dozen categories of counterintelligence and foreign intelligence documents to the panel as the first step in a rolling production.
Meanwhile, last week, the president directed the US intelligence community to "quickly and fully" cooperate with Barr’s investigation into the origins of the Russia probe, signaling more trouble ahead in the battle over Mueller’s findings.
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