After copious speculation, prediction, and angst, Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation ended on Friday.
Attorney General Bill Barr is now in possession of the probe’s final report, and he will be making decisions about what to do with it in the coming days and, presumably, weeks. The House of Representatives recently passed a unanimous resolution asking for the report to be released publicly. He may turn over some of the probe’s conclusions to Congress this weekend, but much of it could remain concealed.
Here are five key details to know about the end of the investigation:
1. The White House does not appear to have gotten a version of the report before Mueller sent it to Barr.
Both Press Secretary Sarah Sanders and the Justice Department confirmed on Friday that the White House did not see the report before it went to Barr. This is significant because Rudy Giuliani had suggested that Trump’s legal team may have wanted to review it before it was finalized. However, Trump and his allies still might try to intervene in the production of a public release of the report.
2. Barr never declined a request by Mueller.
Aside from the end of the investigation, perhaps the most significant thing the public learned Friday about Mueller is that Barr never chose to overrule any decision the special counsel wanted to make. The special counsel regulations require that Barr tell Congress if he vetoes any of Mueller’s decisions, so this can give the country greater confidence that the investigation was carried out without more undue interference.
3. Barr may be prepared to use his considerable authority to keep parts of the report secret.
Former DOJ spokesman Matthew Miller noted that, despite Barr saying in a letter to Congress that he is committed to “transparency” about the investigation, he included several caveats that could give him leeway to keep much of the report confidential.
“Barr is leaving himself a ton of wiggle room here on what he will actually give to Congress, as he did at his confirmation hearing,” said Miller on Twitter.
4. Mueller and a small group of his team will remain in the Justice Department for now, according to BuzzFeed reporter Zoe Tillman.
In his letter, Barr said he will consult with both Deputy Attorney Rod Rosenstein and Mueller, a long-time friend of his, about what to release from the report. It makes sense, then, then Mueller does not appear to be leaving immediately.
5. Unresolved aspects of the investigation may continue on in other parts of the Justice Department.
We learned this week that the prosecution of Michael Cohen, the president’s former lawyer, for a campaign finance crime that implicates Trump himself, arose from a case that Mueller handed off to prosecutors in the Southern District of New York. Other investigations also appear to have resulted from Mueller’s probe that were not central to his mandate and are now being handled by other parts of the department. It’s not clear, aside from the campaign finance crime, how these case might touch on the president or those in his circle.
UPDATE: 6. The Justice Department says there are no more sealed indictments to come from Mueller’s probe.
This is significant because there were several subjects of the investigation who could have potentially been indicted but weren’t. Most notably, Jerome Corsi, a conspiracy theorist and sometime friend of Roger Stone, leaked a copy of a plea deal that Mueller had supposedly asked him to agree to, which fueled much speculation that he would eventually be indicted.