In an interview with CBS News that aired Sunday, U.S. President Donald Trump refused to commit to making special counsel Robert Mueller’s final report public.
During the interview, Trump said the decision would be made by his attorney general. “Totally up to the attorney general,” Trump said. “I don’t know. It depends.” “I have no idea what it’s going to say,” the president said of the Mueller report. “There was no collusion. There was no obstruction. There was no nothing. (It) doesn’t implicate me in any way, but I think it’s a disgrace.”
Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker said last week that the Russia investigation led by Mueller is “close to being completed,” although there has been no confirmation of this from the special counsel’s office. The Senate Judiciary Committee delayed a vote on Trump’s nominee to lead the Justice Department, William Barr, until Feb. 7.
During his confirmation hearing last month, Barr said that Mueller’s findings in the Russia investigation will be confidential but that he supports their release to the public. Whitaker has previously criticized the Mueller investigation, and Barr’s nomination is under scrutiny from Democrats for a memo he wrote last year criticizing Mueller’s inquiry.
Mueller, who was appointed in May 2017, is looking into the alleged Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election and any potential collusion between the Trump campaign and Moscow, among other matters that may arise from the investigation. His team has indicted or gotten guilty pleas from 34 people, including several former Trump campaign aides and two dozen Russians, and three companies. Trump has repeatedly dismissed any collusion between his campaign and Moscow, while slamming the Mueller probe as a “hoax” or “witch hunt.”
Last month, Mueller arrested Roger Stone, a longtime Trump associate, on charges of obstruction, witness tampering and making false statements to Congress. As to Stone, the president told CBS in the interview that the 66-year-old veteran political operative “didn’t work on the campaign” except at its onset. The president also said he hasn’t thought about pardoning Stone.