A national security expert predicted amid reporting that special counsel Robert Mueller's final report investigation is coming to a close that a "damning" report on Russia collusion may be submitted as early as Friday.
Independent journalist Marcy Wheeler noted in her Wednesday post that NBC News and CNN have both reported that sources close to the Justice Department said Attorney General Bill Barr is slated to announce the end of Mueller's investigation as early as next week.
"When most people think of 'the Mueller report,'" Wheeler wrote, they think of the confidential, legally-required report he must submit to the attorney general at the conclusion of his investigation explaining his findings and methodology.
Though it's unclear whether the final report submitted to Barr will ever see the light of day, another "report" is slated to be released by the week's end — and will likely be public.
"Both Mueller and the defense have to submit a sentencing memo in Paul Manafort’s DC case Friday," the national security expert noted.
"This sentencing memo presents an opportunity for Mueller to 'report' what they’ve found — at least with respect to all the criminal actions they know Manafort committed, including those he lied about while he was supposed to be cooperating — without anyone at DOJ or the White House suppressing the most damning bits," Wheeler wrote.
"DOJ won’t be able to weigh in because a sentencing memo is not a major action requiring an urgent memo to the Attorney General," she wrote, adding that because Matthew Whitaker is no longer acting AG, "the White House will get no advance warning" because he's not "reporting it up the chain."
Mueller will have the opportunity to answer a number of outstanding questions about Manafort, including details about his "sleazy influence peddling," his role in the infamous Trump Tower meeting in 2016, more information about his relationship to alleged Russian operative Konstantin Kilimnik and whether Trump offered to pardon him in exchange for his silence.