Senator Chuck Grassley said he believes Special Counsel Robert Mueller is just weeks away from finishing the report he was hired to produce, 21 months after his Russia probe began.
Radio host Hugh Hewitt asked the Iowa Republican when he expected to see the report.
‘Within a month, if we see it,’ Grassley responded.
Acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker said eight days ago that the Mueller probe was in its final stages.
‘Right now the investigation is, I think, close to being completed,’ Whitaker told reporters his first public remarks about it since President Donald Trump appointed him to his post.
‘I hope we can get the report from Director Mueller as soon as possible,’ he added.
A spokesman for the Office of Special Counsel declined to comment on Tuesday. Mueller’s office is famously tight-lipped about its operations and timetables.
Grassley said he supports efforts in Congress that would force the Justice Department to release Mueller’s findings about alleged links between Russian agents and theTrump’s 2016 campaign.
Whitaker and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen submitted a classified report to Trump on Monday concluding that foreign powers had no ‘material impact on the integrity or security of election infrastructure or political/campaign infrastructure’ in the 2018 midterm elections.
But Mueller’s status as the arbiter of Russian influence has kept the Justice Department and DHS from issuing similar sweeping conclusions about the 2016 presidential contest.
Grassley told Hewitt on Tuesday that Mueller’s final product should be a public document, with the exception of portions that impact ‘national security and [the] privacy of individuals.’
He said he has found common cause with Connecticut Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal, a consistent Trump antagonist, who also wants transparency. The two are co-sponsoring a bill that would force the DOJ to hand the report over.
‘Here’s where Blumenthal and I are on the same page, maybe for different reasons,’ Grassley said. ‘Blumenthal is on a bill with me, because he wants this report out, I suppose, because it’s going to make Trump look bad.’
‘I look at it from this standpoint. I don’t care what the report says. We paid $25 million, maybe $35 million to do it, and the public ought to know what their $25 or $35 million bought.
President Trump told CBS News in an interview that aired Sunday that the Justice Department’s leader, not him, would decide whether Mueller’s report becomes a public document.
Trump has nominated former Attorney General William Barr to take the job a second time. Barr told senators in January that his ‘objective and goal is to get as much as I can of the information to Congress and the public.’
Whitaker gained oversight over the probe when Attorney General Jeff Sessions resigned following months of Trump’s public and private criticism.
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein still has day-to-day management, but Whitaker is now his supervisor. Barr would take that role if the Senate confirms him.
‘I have been fully briefed on the investigation. I look forward to Director Mueller delivering the final report,’ Whitaker said last week.
‘I am comfortable that the decisions that were made are going to be reviewed either through the various means that we have, but right now, you know, the investigation is I think close to being completed, and I hope we can get the report from Director Mueller as soon as possible.’
James E Windsor, Overpasses News Desk
February 5th, 2019