CNN is reporting, based on what it calls “multiple sources” that special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and potential conspiracy between Russia and the Trump campaign “has begun writing its final report.”
CNN’s report comes against the backdrop of a changes in Congress and the Justice Department that oversees the Mueller probe. Democrats, who are set to take control of the House of Representatives in January, will be able to pursue renewed investigation of outstanding questions about the Trump campaign’s alleged ties to Russian election interference. And the replacement of Jeff Sessions at the Justice Department with Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker, a Trump partisan who has been critical of Mueller, has raised questions about the future of the Russia investigation—including whether its scope will be curtailed, its funding cut, or if it will be shut down altogether.
It is not clear whether or how this week’s moves at Justice have affected Mueller’s timeline for completing the report. Mueller is reported to still be awaiting information it has requested from Trump’s lawyers, including selective call and visitor logs from Trump Tower in New York and President Trump’s written responses to questions put to him by Mueller and his team.
When and if Mueller finishes his report, the question of whether it will see public light—and in what form—could loom as the next legal and political battleground.
As the White House counsel’s office seeks to hire new lawyers, CNN reports, “One of the important questions the new White House legal team is expected to have to address is whether any of Mueller’s findings can be shared with either Congress or the public given executive privilege concerns, which could block release of some or all of Mueller’s work.”