BREAKING: Mueller probe ends - Special Prosecutor hands in his report on Russian interference in 2016 election

22 Mar 2019

 Pictured: Former FBI Directer and Special Prosecutor, Robert S Mueller III, has signalled the end of his investigation.

 

Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller III has handed his report on Russian interference in the 2016 Presidential election to the US Attorney General, William Barr.

 

The report marks the end of Mueller’s two year investigation which was given a sweeping mandate, including digging into alleged collusion between the Russian government and the Trump Presidential campaign.

 

Commentators will be eager to learn details from the report, though it remains unclear whether details of its findings will be made public anytime soon.

 

Robert Mueller, former Director of the FBI under George Bush, was appointed to head the investigation after allegations that Trump fired James Comey, the then Director of the FBI, in early 2017 to prevent scrutiny of his campaign's dealings with Russia. This was alleged to be an obstruction of justice, which Trump himself seemed to admit to publicly in an interview with CNN's Lester Holt.

 

The Mueller investigation frequently made headlines in the US after FBI agents working for the Special Prosecutor made a series of high profile arrests, including members of the Trump campaign team.

 

Mueller is widely regarded as an extremely effective and non-partisan operator, and over the last two years, he and his associates have worked quietly but quickly, racking up hundreds of indictments, and dozens of guilty verdicts.

 

Key Trump associates like Rick Gates, Paul Manafort, and Roger Stone, have fallen foul of Mueller’s investigation, charged with a string of election law violations and fraud charges.

 

Pictured: Former Trump Campaign Chair, Paul Manafort, is currently serving ninety months behind bars for fraud and tax evasion.

 

President Trump has often hit back at Mueller on Twitter, where he regularly refers to the Special Prosecutor’s efforts as a 'witch hunt' designed in collaboration with the Democratic Party.

 

But despite Trump’s very public frustration, it is unclear whether Mueller’s investigation has uncovered any evidence that then candidate Trump knew of the ongoing contact between Russian assets and figures in his campaign - including his own son Donald Trump Jr – a fact which has only added to the rumour mill about what Mueller’s completed report includes.

 

Added to this, there is an ongoing legal debate concerning whether a sitting President can be indicted by the US Justice Department. While the current Justice Department guidance is clear that it is not possible to do so, others have argued that this gives a license to political corruption.

 

The Democratic-controlled House of Representatives will be taking a particularly strong interest in the details of the report, since, if the President is found to have committed a crime during the 2016 campaign, it will be their decision as to whether to begin the complex series of impeachment proceedings that could remove him from office.

 

For now, all any of us can do is wait to see what the Trump-appointed Attorney General, William Barr, does with the finished report.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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