Mar 23, 2019 17:58 Asia/Tehran

The special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, on Friday delivered a report on his inquiry into Russian interference in the 2016 election to Attorney General William P. Barr, bringing to a close an investigation that has consumed the nation and cast a shadow over US President for nearly two years.

Iran Press/America: Barr told congressional leaders in a letter that he may brief them on the special counsel’s 'principal conclusions' as early as this weekend, a surprisingly fast turnaround for a report anticipated for months. The attorney general said he “remained committed to as much transparency as possible,” The New York Times reported.

In an apparent endorsement of an investigation that Trump has relentlessly attacked as a 'witch hunt,' Barr said Justice Department officials never had to intervene to keep Mueller from taking an inappropriate or unwarranted step. The department’s regulations would have required Barr to inform the leaders of the House and Senate Judiciary committees about any such interventions in his letter.

A senior Justice Department official said that Mueller would not recommend new indictments, a statement aimed at ending speculation that Trump or other key figures might be charged down the line.

With department officials emphasizing that Mueller’s inquiry was over and his office closing, the question for both Trump’s critics and defenders was whether the prosecutors condemned the president’s behavior in their report, exonerated him — or neither. The president’s lawyers were already girding for a possible fight over whether they could assert executive privilege to keep parts of the report secret.

Since Mueller’s appointment in May 2017, his team has focused on how Russian operatives sought to sway the outcome of the 2016 presidential race and whether anyone tied to the Trump campaign, wittingly or unwittingly, cooperated with them. While the inquiry started months earlier by the F.B.I., unearthed a far-ranging Russian influence operation, no public evidence emerged that the president or his aides illegally assisted it. 103

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