Mueller report not coming next week: senior U.S. Justice official
By Sarah N. Lynch and Mark Hosenball WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Special Counsel Robert Mueller will not deliver his long-awaited report next week on Russian interference in the 2016 U.S.
By Sarah N. Lynch and Mark Hosenball
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Special Counsel Robert Mueller will not deliver his long-awaited report next week on Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. elections, a senior U.S. Justice Department official said on Friday, amid expectations that the report was imminent.
"Any reports that the Special Counsel's report will be delivered to the DOJ (Department of Justice) during the week of Feb. 28 are incorrect," the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
The 21-month Mueller investigation, also focused on possible obstruction of justice, has been a dark cloud over Donald Trump's presidency, with reports of its conclusion being imminent appearing frequently in recent weeks.
CNN reported on Wednesday that the Justice Department may announce as early as next week that Mueller had given his report to Attorney General William Barr and that Barr would review the findings and submit a summary to Congress.
Trump, a Republican, has repeatedly said there was no collusion between his 2016 campaign and Russia, and he has called the investigation a witch hunt. Russia has denied interfering in the election.
So far, 34 individuals and three companies have pleaded guilty, been indicted or otherwise been swept up in the inquiry.
Congress has authorized funding for Mueller’s team to continue its inquiry until the end of the current federal fiscal year on Sept. 30, although that does not necessarily mean the investigation will go on that long.
Peter Carr, a spokesman for Mueller’s team, said it still employs 12 lawyers. Four lawyers left in recent months, but individually, not in a group, Carr confirmed.
Speculation about the timing of Mueller report's release has been accompanied by questions about whether it will be made public once it is completed.
Six chairmen of committees in the Democratic-controlled U.S. House of Representatives on Friday wrote to Barr saying that the report should be made public “without delay and to the maximum extent permitted by law.”
Asked about the release of the report, Trump told reporters on Friday that he had not spoken to Barr about it. Trump added: "There was no collusion, there was no obstruction."
In a related matter, the Manhattan district attorney is pursuing criminal charges against former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, whether or not Trump pardons him for his federal convictions, a person familiar with the matter said on Friday.
The charges originate from unpaid state taxes and likely are also related to loans, according to the source.
(Additional reporting by Lisa Lambert in Washington and Karen Freifeld in New York; Writing by Kevin Drawbaugh; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and James Dalgleish)
This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.
By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States
BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.