Mueller to make first public statement about probe of Trump, Russia on Wednesday – NBC News
Special counsel Robert Mueller will make a public statement at 11 a.m. Wednesday on the Russia investigation, the Department of Justice announced.
“Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III will make a statement on the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 Presidential election,” the department said. “This will be a statement only, no question and answer period to follow.”
A senior White House official said that the White House was notified on Tuesday night that Mueller might make a statement, so the administration was not caught off-guard.
A senior administration official told NBC News that, following that initial notification, the White House did not know the content of what Mueller would say. The official added that the White House made no attempt to stop Mueller from speaking.
NBC News’ Tom Winter reported on air Wednesday morning that the statement would be “significant or substantial.”
Mueller has not made any comment on the investigation since he was named special counsel in May 2017. House Democrats are seeking to have him testify before Congress in the coming weeks. Last week, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., said Mueller was willing to testify but only in private.
Mueller’s planned remarks come after a new book reportedly asserted that Mueller drew up a three-count obstruction of justice indictment against President Donald Trump before deciding to abandon it. A spokesman for the special counsel’s office denied any indictment had been drafted. NBC News’ Ken Dilanian reported that Mueller is not expected to discuss that allegation during his statement.
In March, Mueller submitted to Attorney General William Barr his 400-plus page report on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, whether the Trump campaign or Trump associates conspired with Russia in those efforts and if Trump sought to obstruct justice.
Days later, Barr released a four-page summary of Mueller’s report which the special counsel said “did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance” of his investigation. Trump used the Barr summary to claim he was exonerated in the weeks that followed before, in mid-April, Barr released a lightly redacted version of Mueller’s report.
In his report, Mueller extensively detailed Russia’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 election, multiple contacts between the Trump campaign and associates with Russians, and Trump’s efforts to quash the probe. Mueller wrote that the evidence he reviewed was not enough to establish a Trump-Russia conspiracy while, on obstruction, he said he could not come to a traditional prosecutorial decision.
“Accordingly, while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him,” Mueller wrote, later adding that Trump’s “efforts to influence the investigation were mostly unsuccessful, but that is largely because the persons who surrounded the President declined to carry out orders or accede to his requests.”
This is a developing story; check back for updates.