Robert Mueller not recommending further charges as he concludes probe into alleged Russian collusion with Donald Trump

  • Video report by ITV News Washington Correspondent Robert Moore

US special counsel Robert Mueller is not recommending any further indictments into his investigation into Russian interference in the US presidential election and alleged collusion with associates of Donald Trump, a Justice Department official has said.

The Justice Department said Mr Mueller delivered his final report on Friday to Attorney General William Barr, who is reviewing it.

The White House said they "look forward to the process taking its course", while Mr Trump's lawyers said they were "pleased" that the report had been concluded.

Meanwhile leading Democrats have said it is "imperative" to make the full report public as "the American people have a right to the truth".

Mr Mueller’s report sets the stage for big public fights to come.

The next steps are up to Mr Trump’s attorney general, to Congress and, in all likelihood, federal courts.

It is not clear how much of the report will become public or be provided to Congress.

Mr Barr has said he will write his own report summarising Mr Mueller’s findings, but could release them as soon as the weekend.

He has also said he wants to make as much public as possible, and any efforts to withhold details will prompt a tussle between the Justice Department and lawmakers who may subpoena Mr Mueller and his investigators to testify before Congress.

  • What is the background?

The Mueller investigation began in May 2017 and the divisive probe has now indicted more than 30 people – some of those have been long-term political allies to Mr Trump.

A link has not officially been found between the president and Russia, but will special counsel Robert Mueller’s conclusions bring anything new to light?

ITV News Washington Correspondent Robert Moore explains why the investigation is viewed as one of significance.

  • Who is Robert Mueller?

After serving as a decorated Marine officer in the Vietnam War, Mr Mueller worked in the US Attorney’s Office for 12 years, investigating cases related to fraud, corruption and terrorism.

In 2001, he was appointed as director of the FBI and started the role just one week before the 9/11 terror attacks on the World Trade Centres and the Pentagon.

US special counsel Robert Mueller is a former FBI director. Credit: AP

Counter-terrorism programmes were expanded during his 12-year tenure, becoming the longest serving director since J Edgar Hoover.

After a brief stint working in the private sector, Mr Mueller was appointed as special counsel for the US Department of Justice in 2017.

  • What is he investigating?

Mr Mueller is examining whether Donald Trump’s campaign coordinated with Russia and whether the president has attempted to obstruct the investigation.

There is no smoking gun in relation to Russian collusion, but evidence so far has shown that some of Mr Trump’s associates had Russia-related contacts during the 2016 presidential campaign and transition period.

There is evidence that some people in Mr Trump's orbit were discussing a possible email dump from WikiLeaks before it occurred.

American intelligence agencies and Mr Mueller have said Russia was the source of hacked material released by WikiLeaks during the campaign which was damaging to Hillary Clinton's presidential effort.

Investigators have also examined key events such as Mr Trump’s firing of director of the FBI James Comey and the president’s anger over Attorney General Jeff Sessions' recusal after undisclosed meetings with the Russian ambassador in 2016.

The president also plays a central role in a separate case in New York, where prosecutors have implicated him in a crime.

They say Mr Trump directed his personal lawyer Michael Cohen to make illegal hush-money payments to two women to quash potential sex scandals during the campaign.

  • What has Donald Trump said?

The White House said they looked 'forward to the process taking its course'. Credit: AP

Sarah Huckabee-Sanders, the White House's spokesperson said in a tweet that "the next steps are up to Attorney General Barr, and we look forward to the process taking its course.

"The White House has not received or been briefed on the Special Counsel’s report."

Mr Trump's lawyers, Rudy Giuliani and Jay Sekulow said they were "pleased that the Office of Special Counsel has delivered its report to the Attorney General pursuant to the regulations.

"Attorney General Barr will determine the appropriate next steps."

The president has repeatedly dismissed the investigation as a “witch hunt” and insists there was no collusion with Russia.

Mr Mueller’s team has indicted more than 30 people during its investigation but has not made a connection between Mr Trump and Russia.

His former campaign chairman Paul Manafort was sentenced in March to nearly four years in prison for tax and bank fraud related to advising Ukrainian politicians.

Mr Trump said he feels “very badly” for him, adding: “I think it's been a very, very tough time for him.”

Credit: AP
  • What have the Democrats said?

Leading Democrats Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer said it is "imperative" to make the full report public as "the American people have a right to the truth".

In a joint statement, they said Mr Barr must not give Mr Trump, his lawyers or staff any "sneak preview" of the findings or evidence.

"The White House must not be allowed to interfere in decisions about what parts of those findings or evidence are made public," they said.

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