WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump’s legal team is bracing for the imminent delivery of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on the nearly two-year investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, lead attorney Rudy Giuliani said Thursday.
Giuliani told USA TODAY that it’s been “weeks” since Mueller’s team has been in contact the president’s attorneys, adding that there has been no further discussion about obtaining additional testimony from the president for about a month.
He said the extended period of “silence” has the president’s lawyers preparing for Mueller’s required notification to new Attorney General William Barr that the special counsel’s work has been completed.
“We expect something in the next two weeks,” Giuliani said.
He said the legal team has been preparing a report of its own that, depending on Mueller’s findings, may be made public.
“If (Mueller) clears the president, we walk away and say, ‘Thank you.’ If it is damaging, then we will respond,” he said.
A spokesman for the special counsel has declined to comment on the timing of the final report. On Thursday, spokesman Peter Carr also declined to describe the Mueller team’s interactions with the president’s lawyers.
The approaching end of the investigation has been anticipated for weeks, accelerating last month when then-acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker said that the inquiry was “close to being completed.”
The statement by Whitaker, who had been overseeing the investigation since he was elevated to the temporary post in November, marked the first time anyone familiar with its inner workings had offered even a hint in public of its likely trajectory. He did not elaborate.
With reports swirling Wednesday that Mueller’s report to Barr was expected within days, Trump said he would defer to his new attorney general on whether the report should be made public.
Trump told reporters that decision was “totally up to” Barr.
Justice officials declined to discuss the matter.
Justice Department rules require that Mueller submit a confidential report to the attorney general when his work is done.
According to the rules, the confidential report must explain why he filed the charges he did and why he might have declined to bring charges against others. It would then be up to the attorney general to provide a summary of the report to submit to Congress.
Barr, however, has cast doubt on what part of the document, if any, would be released to the public.
During his Senate confirmation hearing last month, Barr told lawmakers he couldn’t commit to releasing Mueller’s report in full. Neither was he clear on whether he would permit Mueller to testify to Congress about his work. He said he wanted to be transparent about Mueller’s findings but offered few details.
“Where judgments are to be made by me, I will make those judgments based solely on the law and department policy and will let no personal, political or other improper interests influence my decision,” Barr told the Senate panel.
More: William Barr sworn in as attorney general, takes charge of investigations of the president
More: Robert Mueller has spent two years investigating Trump, and he hasn’t said a word. It’s possible he never will.
While he believes that Trump remains “a subject” of Mueller’s investigation, Giuliani said he has “never been told” that the president is a target of the inquiry.
Trump provided written responses to questions from Mueller’s team, but Giuliani believes that exchange is over.
“We are not going to consider any more questions,” Giuliani said. “There is no subject that they (investigators) don’t now have a complete picture of.”