The Mueller report. What we know and what happens next

On the face of it, from the little information that is available, Mr Robert Mueller's report is not the silver bullet that many of the President's enemies and critics hoped it would be.
On the face of it, from the little information that is available, Mr Robert Mueller's report is not the silver bullet that many of the President's enemies and critics hoped it would be. PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON - US Special Counsel Robert Mueller has handed in his confidential report on his investigation into Russia's role in the 2016 presidential election and any potential wrongdoing by US President Donald Trump.

Here are some questions on what we know and what we don't.

Q: Do we know what's in the report? If not, when will we know?

A: No, except that, according to reports citing a Department of Justice official, it apparently does not recommend any indictments. The report is the result of nearly two years of investigation, has been delivered to the Attorney-General William Barr. It is he who will decide whether and how much will be revealed to Congress and to the public.

There is a clamour for the report to be released in full. Barr has meanwhile informed Congressional leaders that he could brief them on the report's "principal conclusions" as early as this weekend, and that he remains "committed to as much transparency as possible".

Key findings of the report are thus expected to emerge over the weekend, but the details might not be known until part or all of it is released to the public. When that will happen is uncertain.

Q: How are the Republicans and the Democrats reacting?

A: That the report does not seek any indictments, is seen by Republicans as a vindication of the President, who has always maintained that he did not collude with Russia to win the 2016 election. Mark Meadows, a Republican Congressman from North Carolina and a Trump ally, tweeted : "The Mueller report delivery suggests no more indictments are coming from the Special Counsel. If that's true, it would mean we just completed 2 years of investigating 'Russian collusion' without ONE collusion related indictment. Not even one."

"Why? Because there was no collusion."

 
 
 
 

Republican Congressman Steve Scalise of Louisiana, in a statement said the reports that no indictments have been recommended, "confirm what we've known all along: There was never any collusion with Russia."

On the face of it, from the little information that is available, the report is not the silver bullet that many of the President's enemies and critics hoped it would be. Legal analyst Preet Bharara, a former New York Attorney-General who fell out with Trump and has been a critic of the President, on CNN said that if it does not recommend any indictments, that means the President is off the hook.

But whether the report condemns or exonerates the President's behaviour and actions, remains to be seen.

It may do neither. But there may be details which can still be used against the President. All six Senate Democrats who have announced runs for the party's 2020 presidential nomination, have called for its public release, amid concerns that parts of the report that may be bad Trump could be suppressed.

"Attorney-General Barr must release the full report to the public," Democrat Senator Amy Klobuchar tweeted. "The American people deserve to know the facts."

Q: What will Trump do next?

A: The President is likely to capitalise on his advantage to claim vindication, and intensify his counter attacks against the Democrats, who he has accused of colluding to shield the alleged wrongdoings of his erstwhile rival Hilary Clinton, and conspiring - along with elements in the FBI - to bring him down.

Trump, his company the Trump Organisation, still face multiple investigations that are also targeting his immediate family. The President still has a fight on his hands. But the boost from a report that is seen as vindicating him, will embolden him.