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Attorney General Barr Says He'll Review Mueller Report, Advise Congressional Leaders

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

The investigation that has consumed Washington for nearly two years is done. Special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russia and the 2016 presidential election and possible obstruction of justice was delivered today to the Justice Department.

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

Attorney General William Barr says he will review the report and advise congressional leaders on what's in it as soon as this weekend. The investigation lasted nearly 22 months, and throughout the process, this constant refrain from President Trump...

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING MONTAGE)

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: This is a pure and simple witch hunt.

It's a big fat hoax. I have nothing to do with Russia.

It's a hoax. It's a witch hunt. Hoax.

There's no collusion. There's no collusion with the Republicans. And there's certainly no collusion with Donald Trump.

CHANG: It is true that Mueller has not charged any Americans with conspiring with Russians.

KELLY: But he has secured the convictions of people in Trump's orbit on crimes ranging from bank and tax fraud to lying to the FBI and to Congress. And as Mueller indicted people such as former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, President Trump was making personnel changes.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

TRUMP: Sessions should have never recused himself. And if he was going to recuse himself, he should have told me before he took the job, and I would have picked somebody else.

CHANG: Now, Trump did pick someone else after firing Attorney General Jeff Sessions one day after the midterm elections in November 2018. Sessions had recused himself from overseeing the investigation on the grounds that he had been a Trump surrogate during the campaign and had himself met with the Russian ambassador. Trump eventually nominated William Barr to take over the job.

KELLY: And worried Senate Democrats wanted his guarantee that he would allow the Mueller investigation to proceed. Barr had these reassuring words for the lawmakers.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

WILLIAM BARR: Under the regulations, Bob Mueller could only be terminated for good cause. And I - frankly, it's unimaginable to me that Bob would ever do anything that gave rise to good cause.

KELLY: And now, Attorney General William Barr has the report. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.