Matthew Whitaker: Mueller Probe 'Close To Being Completed'

Tuesday, 29 Jan, 2019

Special counsel Robert Mueller briefed acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker that his investigation is "close to [being] completed", CNN reported Monday.

"Right now the investigation is I think close to being completed and I hope that we can get the report from Director Mueller as soon as possible".

He says he's been "fully briefed" on the special counsel's investigation.

But some senators are less ready to defer to Barr's judgment than he would like, particularly when it comes to Mueller's investigation into possible links between the Trump campaign and Russian Federation during the 2016 election.

Two Senate Judiciary panel members - Republican Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Democrat Richard Blumenthal of CT - said Monday that they're proposing legislation that would require Mueller's report to be made available to the public and Congress when the investigation is complete. So the final report from Mueller's team could have major consequences for the outcome of the investigation. "If referrals are made by committees, we would investigate". He has also acknowledged that he discussed Mueller with Trump himself when he turned down an opportunity to represent the president in the special counsel's investigation.

A spokesman for the special counsel's office declined to comment on Whitaker's remarks.

On Friday, Roger Stone, a veteran Republican operative and longtime Trump adviser, was arrested at his south Florida home by Federal Bureau of Investigation agents on charges of making false statements to Congress and witness tampering.

According to the indictment, Stone told an associate, Randy Credico, to do a "Frank Pentangeli'" when testifying before Congress - a reference to a character in "The Godfather: Part II".

Others in Trump's orbit have also been charged in the probe, including Trump's former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, his former campaign deputy, Richard Gates, and his former national security adviser, Michael Flynn.

Barr has also come under scrutiny for an unsolicited June 2018 memo he wrote laying why Mueller's obstruction of justice theory would be "fatally misconceived" if predicated on President Donald Trump's interactions with former FBI Director James Comey.

In his responses, Barr stressed he would not interfere with Mueller's investigation and that his previous memorandum critical of Mueller's authority did not necessarily reflect his current views.

At his Senate confirmation hearing this month, Barr - first appointed to the post by President George H.W. Bush - called his longtime friend Mueller a "straight shooter" and said he didn't believe the special counsel was leading a "witch hunt", as Trump has called the probe.

Mr Trump has repeatedly said he was not involved in any collusion with Russian Federation and has often referred to the probe as a "witch hunt".