STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

A reader's guide to the Mueller report: What is it, what's in it and when will we see it?

Article Image

After years of investigating, 500 witnesses interviewed and a metric ton of ink spilled, Congress and the public is set to get its first real look at special...

Posted: Apr 17, 2019 1:11 PM

After years of investigating, 500 witnesses interviewed and a metric ton of ink spilled, Congress and the public is set to get its first real look at special counsel Robert Mueller's report Thursday morning.

The report is said to be nearly 400 pages and cover subjects ranging from questions about Russian interference in the 2016 election to whether President Donald Trump committed potentially impeachable offenses.

With the massive scope of the report leaving a lot yet to be learned, here's a guide to the basics of the Mueller report -- from what it is, what to expect and when to expect it:

1. What is the Mueller report?

The report is a summation of the findings from the special counsel investigation. It is expected to contain the details of the investigation, from its interviews with key witnesses and other evidence amassed throughout the process and the Mueller team's conclusions -- or lack thereof.

In a letter to lawmakers, Attorney General William Barr said the report "sets forth the Special Counsel's findings, analysis and the reasons for his conclusions."

2. Who is Mueller?

Mueller is a Vietnam veteran who went on to have a lengthy legal career and rose through the ranks of the Justice Department before becoming FBI director under President George W. Bush -- days before the attacks of September 11, 2001.

When his 10-year term came to an end, then-President Barack Obama asked Congress to allow him to keep Mueller on, and Congress obliged unanimously. He stepped down from the FBI in 2013, and was succeeded by James Comey. Mueller's selection as special counsel was met at first with bipartisan praise, although as the investigation wore on, he became a regular target of Trump and his allies.

RELATED: Tracking the Russia investigations

3. What was he investigating?

Mueller was appointed in May 2017 shortly after Trump fired Comey. Mueller was authorized to investigate Russian interference in the 2016 election, whether any Trump associates coordinated or colluded with the Russians, whether Trump obstructed the investigation and any other crimes that were uncovered during the investigation.

4. How did the investigation start?

The FBI under Comey opened the counterintelligence investigation into Russian meddling and potential collusion in July 2016, way before Mueller came onboard. The probe was started after the FBI received information from a foreign diplomat that a Trump campaign aide knew about Russian hacks against Democrats months before the stolen emails showed up on WikiLeaks' website. When he was appointed, Mueller took on the question of Russian interference, along with his other mandates mentioned above.

5. Who was charged?

Mueller brought criminal charges against six Trump associates, 25 Russians who interfered in the election, three Russian companies and three others. The Trump associates were: senior campaign officials Paul Manafort and Rick Gates, national security adviser Michael Flynn, former fixer Michael Cohen, longtime ally Roger Stone and campaign adviser George Papadopoulos. Some of these defendants are already in prison, other cases are still ongoing.

6. What does Trump have to say about all this?

Trump consistently denied that he or anyone on his team colluded with Russia to interfere in the election, and he has rejected further the intelligence community's conclusion that Russia attempted to interfere in the election at all, including while standing next to Russian President Vladimir Putin shortly after Mueller's appointment. He likewise denied the possibility he had obstructed justice.

Throughout the process, Trump railed against Mueller and Mueller's team, accusing them of political bias and maligning both the intelligence community and Justice Department more broadly.

7. Wasn't this released already?

No, the report has never before been made public. All the public has to go on is a four-page summary of the report from Barr and some media reports about what might be in it.

8. Who's releasing the report?

Mueller worked under the supervision of the Department of Justice, and he submitted his report to Barr, the head of that department. Barr, confirmed as attorney general in February, is handling the public release of the report.

9. When is it coming out?

Thursday, during the lengthy congressional recess around the spring holidays of Passover and Easter.

10. Where can I see the report?

CNN.com will post it immediately, with full comprehensive coverage.

11. What will the report show?

Not that many people have seen it or are expected to see it prior to its release, so the answer to this question is one of many largely up in the air.

According to Barr, however, a few main points should be clear in the report. One, the Mueller investigation did not establish that there was a criminal conspiracy between any Trump campaign associates and Russian officials to interfere in the 2016 election, Barr said. He also said Mueller's report goes through in detail about whether or not Trump obstructed justice, but the report does not make a final conclusion on the matter either way.

Barr said he and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein determined the evidence was "not sufficient" to support obstruction.

12. Will we see the whole thing?

No. Barr will redact, or black-out, some portions of the report in order to comply with a handful of federal laws and internal Justice Department guidelines. Barr laid out four categories of redactions: Grand jury material, classified information, details about ongoing investigations, and information that harms the "privacy and reputational interests of peripheral third parties." They will be color-coded as well.

13. Will it lead to impeachment?

Probably not, but it's impossible to tell before we see the report. That decision largely rests on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, as any impeachment proceedings would start in the House of Representatives. Pelosi said last month that she's against it, "unless there's something so compelling and overwhelming and bipartisan."

14. What happens next?

For Mueller, he can finally pack up shop and return to the private sector if he wants, though he might be asked to testify on Capitol Hill. For Barr, he'll likely be facing subpoenas and lawsuits from House Democrats who want to pry loose the unredacted report. For Trump, he can move on from Mueller, but his world is still under scrutiny by federal prosecutors in New York, who are looking at his business empire and his inauguration fund.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 36578

Reported Deaths: 2258
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion10188604
Lake3876207
Allen181071
Cass15919
Elkhart158528
St. Joseph135838
Hendricks120478
Hamilton119194
Johnson1125113
Madison60061
Porter56233
Clark53942
Bartholomew53139
LaPorte44824
Howard44236
Tippecanoe4344
Jackson4012
Delaware39741
Shelby39722
Hancock35427
Boone32436
Floyd31941
Vanderburgh2913
Morgan28626
Noble27821
Montgomery24917
Clinton2471
White2399
Decatur23132
Grant22923
Dubois2113
Kosciusko2052
Harrison19622
Marshall1872
Henry18512
Vigo1828
Greene17226
Dearborn17122
Monroe17113
Lawrence17124
Warrick16729
Miami1461
Putnam1427
Jennings1324
Orange13122
LaGrange1282
Scott1263
Franklin1168
Ripley1086
Daviess10416
Carroll952
Wayne906
Steuben902
Wabash812
Newton8010
Fayette797
Jasper741
Jay580
Clay533
Randolph523
Rush513
Fulton511
Washington501
Pulaski500
Jefferson491
Whitley453
DeKalb451
Starke423
Perry390
Huntington382
Sullivan371
Wells350
Owen341
Brown331
Benton320
Knox310
Blackford272
Tipton261
Crawford250
Adams231
Switzerland220
Spencer221
Fountain222
Gibson202
Parke180
Posey160
Martin140
Warren131
Ohio130
Vermillion100
Union100
Pike60
Unassigned0180

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 37758

Reported Deaths: 2357
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin6323295
Cuyahoga4789265
Hamilton2811171
Marion268832
Lucas2329263
Pickaway209938
Summit1529181
Mahoning1486191
Butler97532
Columbiana89453
Stark803102
Montgomery73417
Lorain73061
Trumbull60052
Belmont44915
Warren40721
Medina37624
Tuscarawas3714
Ashtabula36938
Miami36730
Delaware36014
Portage33557
Lake32512
Clark3237
Fairfield3188
Wood30649
Geauga30334
Wayne29651
Licking27110
Mercer2278
Richland2224
Allen22133
Clermont2195
Darke19023
Erie18416
Madison1647
Washington11819
Crawford1184
Morrow1081
Ottawa10717
Greene1065
Putnam9514
Sandusky9112
Monroe8015
Auglaize773
Hardin730
Ross732
Hocking705
Jefferson672
Huron611
Williams581
Holmes573
Union561
Muskingum561
Hancock531
Coshocton480
Wyandot482
Clinton471
Shelby473
Fulton450
Logan430
Fayette410
Preble391
Guernsey382
Carroll353
Defiance342
Brown311
Lawrence301
Highland291
Champaign281
Seneca262
Knox251
Ashland230
Vinton212
Perry191
Athens181
Scioto180
Henry170
Jackson150
Paulding140
Adams111
Harrison100
Pike90
Gallia81
Van Wert70
Meigs60
Noble60
Morgan50
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Clear
68° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 55°
Feels Like: 68°
Angola
Clear
68° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 55°
Feels Like: 68°
Huntington
Clear
69° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 55°
Feels Like: 69°
Decatur
Clear
72° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 56°
Feels Like: 72°
Van Wert
Clear
72° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 55°
Feels Like: 72°
Sunny Sunday
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events