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Probe into Trump's links with Russia completed

  • 22 Mar 2019

The much-anticipated report on the investigation into Russia's role in the 2016 US presidential election has been submitted with opposition lawmakers pushing for its details to be made public.

Former FBI director Robert Mueller has been looking into possible connection between Trump's election campaign and Russia since 2017. ( AP )

Special Counsel Robert Mueller has handed in a keenly awaited report on his investigation into Russia's role in the 2016 presidential election and any potential wrongdoing by US President Donald Trump, the US Justice Department said on Friday.

Mueller submitted the report to Attorney General William Barr, the top US law enforcement official, the department said. 

The report, still confidential, marks the end of Mueller's probe but sets the stage for big public fights to come.

Barr will have to decide how much to disclose. 

It was not known if Mueller found criminal conduct by Trump or his campaign, beyond the charges already brought against several aides.

But AP quoted a Justice Department official saying that Mueller is not recommending any further indictments. 

Mueller, a former FBI director, had been examining since 2017 whether Trump's campaign conspired with Moscow to try to influence the election and whether the Republican president later unlawfully tried to obstruct his investigation.

Trump has denied collusion and obstruction. Russia has denied election interference.

In a letter to lawmakers, Barr said Mueller had concluded the probe, that he is reviewing the report and will be consulting the deputy attorney general and Mueller to determine what information from it can be released to Congress.

Barr, a Trump appointee confirmed by the Senate in February, told the lawmakers he may be able to provide information to Congress on the report's findings as soon as this weekend.

The Russia investigation has cast a shadow over Trump's presidency and ensnared key figures including his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, former personal lawyer Michael Cohen and national security adviser Michael Flynn, who already have either been convicted or pleaded guilty to charges brought by Mueller.

Trump has sought to discredit the investigation, calling it a "witch hunt" and accusing Mueller of conflicts of interest.

US intelligence agencies have concluded that Moscow meddled in the election with a campaign of email hacking and online propaganda aimed at sowing discord in the US, hurting Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton and helping Trump.

Mueller's investigators have looked into a large number of contacts between people associated with Trump's campaign and Russia such as a meeting in New York's Trump Tower between members of the president's inner circle including his eldest son and a Kremlin-linked Russian lawyer five months before the election.

Release the report

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senator Chuck Schumer say it is "imperative" to make the full report public.

The top congressional Democrats say, "The American people have a right to the truth."

In a joint statement, they say Attorney General Barr must not give Trump and his lawyers or staff any "sneak preview" of the findings or evidence.

"The White House must not be allowed to interfere in decisions about what parts of those findings or evidence are made public," they say.

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