ADDS DEMOCRATS' STATEMENT IN GRAFS 11-13
By Michael Hernandez
WASHINGTON (AA) - Special Counsel Robert Mueller has concluded his report into Russia's attempts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election and possible collusion the Trump campaign conducted with that effort, according to the Justice Department.
The announcement marks the conclusion of a nearly two-year investigation U.S. President Donald Trump has long taken issue with, as he and his top officials have sought to downplay the probe as a "witch hunt."
Attorney General William Barr said in a letter to the House of Representatives and Senate judiciary committees he is reviewing Mueller's findings and he anticipates to "be in a position to advise you of the Special Counsel's principal conclusions as soon as this weekend."
Barr said he intends to consult Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and Mueller to determine what information can be released to the Congress and public.
"I remain committed to as much transparency as possible, and I will keep you informed as to the status of my review," Barr wrote to lawmakers.
Trump has repeatedly denied collusion with a Russian effort U.S. intelligence agencies determined set out to undercut 2016 Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton's chances of winning the White House.
The White House insisted that next steps regarding Mueller's report lie squarely with Barr, and spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said in a statement the "White House has not received or been briefed on the Special Counsel’s report.”
Mueller has eschewed the public spotlight throughout his investigation, which has during its course resulted in sweeping indictments being handed down to top Trump campaign officials, including former chairman Paul Manafort.
In all, five people with close ties to the campaign have pled guilty to charges brought by Mueller, including Manafort; his deputy, Rick Gates; former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn; campaign advisor George Papadopoulos and longtime Trump attorney Michael Cohen.
But no officials tied to Trump have been indicted on charges related to Russian influence efforts.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a joint statement is "imperative" the Attorney General "make the full report public and provide its underlying documentation and findings to Congress."
The two leading Democrats urged Barr not to give Trump, his lawyers or staff any "sneak preview" of Muller's evidence or findings.
"The White House must not be allowed to interfere in decisions about what parts of those findings or evidence are made public," said the statement.
*Servet Gunerigok contributed to the story