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Justice Dept. official: Mueller report not expected next week

February 22, 2019 - 7:34 pm
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By Laura Jarrett and Caroline Kelly 

(CNN) -- Special counsel Robert Mueller is not expected to deliver his report on the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election next week, a Justice Department official briefed on the plans told CNN.

As CNN has previously reported, the precise timing of the announcement has been a moving target, but Justice officials are cognizant of President Donald Trump's upcoming summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Vietnam next week, which could play a role in the report's timing. Trump said Wednesday that it's "totally up to Bill Barr" whether Mueller's report comes out while he is overseas next week

PRIVIOUSLY: Mueller report looming, new attorney general in hot seat

CNN reported Wednesday that newly confirmed Attorney General Barr was preparing to announce the report's completion as early as next week, signaling the impending end of the investigation and the start of a potentially contentious political battle over what parts of the report will be made public.

The official declined to comment Friday why the report may not be ready next week, saying the timing has always been a moving target.

The specifics and timetable of what the Justice Department will ultimately provide to Congress remain unclear. Under the special counsel regulations, Mueller must detail why he did or did not opt to prosecute different matters in a "confidential" report to the attorney general at the end of investigation -- but that report is not required to be public.

Barr has said that he wants to be as "transparent" as possible with Congress and the public, "consistent with the rules and the law." He has also noted that the Justice Department often avoids airing "derogatory" information about uncharged individuals.

But lawmakers have already prepared for a fight. A bipartisan Senate duo introduced legislation last month that would require Mueller to provide a summary of his findings to Congress and the public.

The bill, introduced by Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal and Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley, would circumvent Barr and streamline the report's pubic release.

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