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WASHINGTON — Millions of Americans are waiting for Robert Mueller to give them the final word on whether the Trump campaign conspired with the 2016 Russian election interference effort — and whether their president is under the influence of a foreign adversary.
Millions of Americans may be sorely disappointed.
Mueller - Indictment - Members - Trump - Campaign
Unless Mueller files a detailed indictment charging members of the Trump campaign with conspiring with Russia, the public may never learn the full scope of what Mueller and his team has found — including potentially scandalous behavior that doesn't amount to a provable crime.
The reason: The special counsel operates under rules that severely constrain how much information can be made public.
Rules - Counsel - Report - Attorney - Attorney
Those rules require that the special counsel's report to the attorney general be "confidential." And, while the attorney general is required to notify Congress about Mueller's findings, the rules say those reports must amount to "brief notifications, with an outline of the actions and the reasons for them."
"Expectations that we will see a comprehensive report from the special counsel are high. But the written regulations that govern the special counsel's reporting requirements should arguably dampen those expectations," said Chuck Rosenberg, a former federal prosecutor and NBC News analyst.
Independent - Counsel - Kenneth - Starr - Report
When Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr released the report of his investigation of President Bill Clinton in 1998, all of Washington paused to digest the 453-page document (plus 2,000 pages of appendixes), with its salacious details of the president's sexual dalliance with an intern. It was made public at the same time it was sent to Congress.
The Mueller report won't be anything like that. Starr operated under the now-defunct independent counsel law, meaning he called many of his own shots, outside the purview of the Justice Department. Mueller is a special counsel under Justice Department supervision, subject to very specific regulations.
Here is the sum total of what...
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