The Justice Department report digging into the origins of the Russia investigation won't be released before the election.
A senior White House official and a congressional aide told Axios that Attorney General Bill Barr has been telling top Republicans the long-awaited report wouldn't be out in time to influence the election, as President Donald Trump has been hoping.
“This is the nightmare scenario," the GOP congressional aide said. "Essentially, the year and a half of arguably the No. 1 issue for the Republican base is virtually meaningless if this doesn't happen before the election."
The investigation led by U.S. Attorney John Durham has been hyped by Fox News and the president himself as proof that the Obama administration and Hillary Clinton cooked up the Russia probe to undermine Trump's presidency.
But Barr has been telling congressional allies that Durham was taking his time on the investigation to focus on winning prosecutions, but no indictments would be expected before Nov. 3.
"[Durham] has a reputation for being thorough, but also somewhat slow, in part because of the big tasks he's undertaken," said a former Justice Department official. "It comes with the territory of a sprawling investigation that every stone you turn over needs to be fully scrutinized."
The president, however, appears to be impatient with the investigation.
"To be honest, Bill Barr is going to go down as either the greatest attorney general in the history of the country or he’s going to go down as, you know, a very sad situation," Trump said told Fox Business on Thursday. "He’s got all the information he needs. They want to get more, more, more. They keep getting more. I said, 'you don’t need any more.'"
White House officials and Trump's congressional allies are pressuring Barr to get ahead of Durham and release evidence before the election.
"Bill Barr should follow the instructions of the president to declassify and release all the documents the FBI are sitting on," said one senior White House official. "There's no good reason for him to withhold this information."