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By Dareh Gregorian

Almost two years in the making, a redacted version of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on the Trump campaign and Russian meddling in the 2016 election is expected to be made public Thursday morning.

Mueller’s team of 19 lawyers and 40 investigators interviewed approximately 500 witnesses, issued 2,800 subpoenas, reached out to 13 foreign governments and executed almost 500 search warrants in the probe, which began in May 2017.

Many of those interviewed included those who’ve been at the highest levels of the White House, including former chiefs of staff John Kelly and Reince Preibus, and ex-White House counsel Don McGahn. The probe led to 35 people and three companies being criminally charged, including former national security adviser Michael Flynn, Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort and the president’s longtime personal lawyer Michael Cohen.

The nearly 400-page report is expected to shed light on the Russian government’s attempts to boost Trump, and any interactions Moscow’s agents might have had with his campaign, including more details about a Trump Tower meeting involving Manafort, Donald Trump Jr. and a Russian lawyer who promised “dirt” on Hillary Clinton. The report also deals with whether President Donald Trump later tried to obstruct Mueller’s investigation.

WHAT’S BEING REDACTED?

A number of categories of information are being removed from the public version of the report, including grand jury information, anything the intelligence community believes would reveal sources and methods, material that could interfere with ongoing prosecutions and details that impinge on “the privacy or reputational interests of peripheral players where there’s a decision not to charge them,” according to Attorney General William Barr.

WHO’S DOING THE EDITING?

Barr said he and members of Mueller’s team have been working on the redactions together since he received the report on March 22. The attorney general said the redactions will be coded with four colors signaling the four categories of deletions so readers will know why the items were edited out of particular sections, even if they are not privy to the info itself.

Attorney General William Barr testifies about the Justice Department’s FY2020 budget request before the House Appropriations Committee’s Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies Subcommittee on Capitol Hill on April 09, 2019.Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

HOW WILL THE REPORT BE RELEASED?

The Department of Justice says it will submit the redacted report to Congress and the public Thursday morning. NBC News will post a copy of the document on nbcnews.com as soon as it is available.

WILL NEW CRIMINAL CHARGES BE REVEALED?

No. According to a four-page summary of the investigation released by Barr on March 24, Mueller “did not establish that members of the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.” On the question of obstruction of justice, Barr said Mueller wrote that “while this report does not conclude that President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.” Barr said that left the decision up to him, and he found the evidence was “not sufficient” to establish an obstruction of justice charge.

THEN WHAT WILL IT SHOW?

While Trump has maintained Mueller’s report is a “complete and total exoneration,” it is expected to include politically damaging disclosures. A senior law enforcement official who has spoken to Mueller’s team told NBC News earlier this month that the report includes detailed accounts of Trump campaign contacts with Russia that paint the campaign team as easily manipulated.

While Barr’s summary said that “most” of Trump’s actions in the obstruction probe have been publicly reported, that suggests some of them may not have been. An official who spoke with members of Mueller team said they believe the evidence that Trump sought to interfere with the probe was stronger than Barr had suggested in his letter last month.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller walks to his car after attending services at St. John’s Episcopal Church, across from the White House, in Washington, Sunday, March 24, 2019.Cliff Owen / AP

And NBC News reported Tuesday that some of the more than one dozen current and former White House officials who cooperated with Mueller at the request of Trump’s legal team are now concerned they’ll be exposed for providing damaging information about the president to investigators when the report is released. “They got asked questions and told the truth, and now they’re worried the wrath will follow,” one former White House official said.

IS THIS THE END?

Not even close. Congressional Democrats have said they believe Barr is protecting Trump, and are demanding a full unredacted copy of the report. Barr, who has offered to try to work with lawmakers seeking more information than what he is making public, is expected to testify about the report’s findings in May, and Democrats have suggested they’ll call Mueller to testify as well. The House Judiciary Committee voted to authorize a subpoena for the full report earlier this month if Barr doesn’t turn the whole thing over.

“The Constitution charges Congress with holding the president accountable for alleged official misconduct,” Judiciary chairman Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., said before the vote. “That job requires us to evaluate the evidence for ourselves — not the attorney general’s summary, not a substantially redacted synopsis, but the full report and the underlying evidence.”

Trump’s legal team, meanwhile, is planning on issuing a “counter-report” on Thursday refuting Mueller’s findings, which the president’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani told Politico would be “34 or 35” pages in length. “The more concise the better. 400 pages is a novel,” he said.



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Politics

Everything you need to know

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Four months after he sent his report on Russian interference in the 2016 election and the Trump campaign to Attorney General William Barr, former special counsel Robert Mueller will testify publicly Wednesday about what his investigators did — and didn’t — find.

Here’s a look at how and when to watch, and what to expect:

Mueller hearing time

During his time as FBI chief and as special counsel, the former Marine had a reputation as an early riser who would be at work before 7 am.

His hearings won’t start that early, but they are early for Congress — he is set to begin his testimony promptly at 8:30 am before the House Judiciary Committee.

Hearing schedule

He’s expected to testify between 8:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. to Judiciary, and then go before a second committee, House Intelligence, at noon for approximately two hours.

Who will be doing the questioning?

The Judiciary Committee has 41 members and the Intelligence Committee has 22. While all of the Intelligence committee members are expected to get five minutes to ask questions, it is likely that some members of the larger Judiciary panel will get less time for questioning.

Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., is expected to make a brief opening statement, as is the panel’s ranking Republican, Rep. Doug Collins of Georgia. Intelligence chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., and that committee’s ranking Republican, Schiff’s fellow Californian Rep. Devin Nunes, will each make five-minute opening statements at the Intel hearing.

Will Mueller make an opening statement?

A spokesman for Mueller said Monday he will make a brief opening statement before both committees before giving them a lengthy official statement — his 448-page report on Russian interference.

Will Congress get the unredacted report?

Not on Wednesday. The version of the report Mueller is submitting for the official record will have the same number of redactions that were made by the Attorney General before the document became public — over 900 of them.

What is Mueller expected to say?

He has said his report “speaks for itself” and that he won’t provide any information “beyond what is already public.”

Democrats say they aren’t expecting any new bombshells, but they believe Mueller’s testimony will be an eye-opener for the American public. Nadler told “Fox News Sunday” the report “presents very substantial evidence” that President Donald Trump “is guilty of high crimes and misdemeanors.”

Schiff said he wants Mueller to bring his report “to life.”

At the Aspen Security Conference on Saturday, Schiff told NBC’s Kristen Welker that it could be worthwhile to have Mueller read some portions of the report out loud.

“I do think there’s value in particular passages in the report to have the special counsel literally speak it in his own words,” Schiff said.

Republicans are expected to press Mueller on the political affiliations of some of his prosecutors, who Trump has repeatedly derided as “angry Democrats.” They’re also expected to focus on the report’s bottom line — that there wasn’t enough evidence to prove the Trump campaign conspired with the Russian government in its interference in the 2016 election.

Trump has said the report concluded there was “no collusion” and ” no obstruction,” but Democratic lawmakers plan to highlight at least five instances of what they say is obstruction of justice from the report, staffers told NBC News.

“What’s important is there is truly shocking evidence of criminal misconduct by the president — not once but again and again and again — that would result in any other American being criminally charged in a multiple count indictment,” one Democrat staffer said last week.

Where can I watch the hearings?

NBC News will air a special report beginning at 8:15 a.m. ET that will continue into the afternoon through both sessions. On MSNBC, live coverage will start at 6 a.m. ET. The testimony will also stream live on NBC News NOW, NBCNews.com, MSNBC.com, YouTube, and other streaming platforms beginning at 8:30 a.m. ET.

Will Trump watch?

He said on Friday he would not, but acknowledged to reporters at the White House on Monday he would “probably” watch a little.



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Boris, sign him up! Jacob Rees-Mogg offers to join new Cabinet – ‘I will do anything’

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JACOB REES-MOGG has vowed to “do anything” to help incoming Prime Minister Boris Johnson after the former London Mayor secured a landslide victory over Jeremy Hunt in the Tory leadership contest.

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Search warrants issued for phones in Puerto Rico chat scandal

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A day after more than half a million Puerto Ricans participated in a protest demanding the resignation of Gov. Ricardo Rosselló, the island’s Justice Department confirmed to NBC News that it had issued search warrants to confiscate the cellphones of several people who participated in leaked private message chats with the governor.

The contents of the chats have triggered unprecedented mass protests and calls for Rosselló’s ouster.

The warrants come a week after only a handful of members in the chat voluntarily surrendered their cellphones to Justice officials as part of an investigation into possible conflicts of interest and law violations stemming from the leaked messages.

Telemundo Puerto Rico reported on Tuesday that authorities had confiscated the phones of Luis Rivera Marín, Rosselló’s secretary of state; Christian Sobrino, who held a series of economic posts; Raúl Maldonado, former chief financial officer; one-time communications aides Carlos Bermúdez and Rafael Cerame; Edwin Miranda, a communications consultant; Public Affairs Secretary Anthony Maceira; and Elías Sánchez, a lobbyist and Rosselló’s former campaign director.

Mariana Cobián, a Justice Department spokesperson, could only confirm to NBC News that warrants were taking place, but stated that they could not provide more details because of it’s an ongoing investigation.

The chats had 12 members, including Rosselló, who was one of the chat’s administrators.

No warrants were reportedly issued to seize Rosselló’s phone, who according to multiple local reports, had not complied with Justice Department requests last week.

Alfonso Orona, Rosselló’s former chief legal officer; Ramón Rosario, former public affairs secretary; and Interior Secretary Ricardo Llerandi complied last week with the Justice Department’s orders, according to Telemundo.

Justice officials launched the investigation shortly after the island’s Center for Investigative Journalism published 889 pages of the chats showing public officials, lobbyists and others discussing public policy issues and party politics.

Days later, Justice Secretary Wanda Vázquez announced plans to recuse herself from participating in the investigation since she was a subject of conversation in the leaked chats.

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