1. Side view Attorney General William Barr walks into news conference
2. SOUNDBITE (ENGLISH) William Barr, Attorney General:
"As you know on March 22nd, Special Counsel Robert Mueller concluded his investigation into matters related to Russian attempts to interfere in our 2016 presidential election. And he submitted his confidential report to me pursuant to department regulations. As I said during my Senate confirmation hearing, and since, I'm committed to ensuring the greatest degree possible of transparency concerning the special counsel's investigation, consistent with the law. At 11:00 this morning I'm going to transmit copies of the public version of the special counsel's report to the chairmen and ranking members of the Senate and House judiciary committees. The Department of Justice will also make the report available to the American people by posting it on the department's website after it has been delivered to Congress."
3. Cutaway Barr speaking
4. SOUNDBITE (ENGLISH) William Barr, Attorney General:
"As you know one of the primary purposes of the special, special counsel's investigation was to determine whether President Trump's campaign or any individual associated with it conspired or coordinated with the Russian government to interfere in the 2016 election. Volume 1 of the special counsel's report describes the results of that investigation. As you will see the special counsel's report states that his quote investigation did not establish that members of the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities. I am sure that all Americans share my concern about the efforts of the Russian government to interfere in our presidential election. As the Special Counsel report makes clear, the Russian government sought to interfere in our election process. But thanks to the special counsel's thorough investigation we now know that the Russian operatives who perpetrated these schemes did not have the cooperation of President Trump or the Trump campaign or the knowing assistance of any other American for that matter. That is something that all Americans can and should be grateful to have confirmed."
5. Cutaway Barr speaking
6. SOUNDBITE (ENGLISH) William Barr, Attorney General:
"The special counsel report outlines two main efforts by the Russian government to influence the 2016 election. First the report details efforts by the Internet Research Agency, a Russian company with close ties to the Russian government, to sow social discord among American voters through disinformation and social media operations. Following a thorough investigation of this disinformation campaign, the special counsel brought charges in federal court against several Russian nationals and entities for their respective roles in this scheme. Those charges remain pending and the individual defendants remain at large. But the special counsel found no evidence that any American, including anyone associated with the Trump campaign, conspired or coordinated with the Russian government or the IRA in this illegal scheme. "
After nearly two years of waiting, America is about to get some answers straight from Robert Mueller- but not before President Donald Trump's attorney general has his say.
Attorney General William Barr says he will give Congress a redacted copy of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigative report at 11 a.m. EST
He told reporters at the Justice Department that he would transmit to Congress copies of the public version of Mueller's investigation into Russian interference during the 2016 election and President Donald Trump's campaign.
Democrats complained that Barr's news conference was an effort to influence reaction to the report ahead of its release.
The Justice Department on Thursday is expected to release a redacted version of the special counsel's report on Russian election interference and the Trump campaign, opening up months, if not years, of fights over what the document means in a deeply divided country.
Even the planned release of the nearly 400-page report quickly spiraled into a political battle Wednesday over whether Attorney General William Barr is attempting to shield the president who appointed him and spin the report's findings before the American people can read it and come to their own judgments.
Trump himself was in a high state of alert ahead of the report's release.
He repeated what has become a near daily refrain of criticism of the Russia investigation using his favored Twitter account. "PRESIDENTIAL HARASSMENT!" he wrote.