Mueller to make first public statement on Russia election probe

Robert Mueller’s probe formally closed in late March when he filed his report, but he has yet to step down from his post and remains a Justice Department employee. (Reuters pic)

WASHINGTON: Special Counsel Robert Mueller will make a public statement on his investigation into 2016 Russian election meddling Wednesday, according to a Justice Department statement.

The comments, to be delivered at the Justice Department in Washington at 11am, will be his first public remarks since being appointed to oversee the investigation more than two years ago. He’s not expected to take questions.

The White House was advised Tuesday night of Mueller’s plans and didn’t object, according to a Trump administration official.

Mueller has been in negotiations with House Democrats over giving public testimony.

He has told the House Judiciary Committee that he’s willing to make a public statement but wants to answer any questions behind closed doors.

Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler said that Mueller would allow a transcript to be released, but the two sides have yet to reach a deal.

The special counsel’s probe formally closed in late March when he filed his report, but he has yet to step down from his post and remains a Justice Department employee.

Mueller referred 14 separate investigations to various US attorneys, most of which remain secret.

House Democrats and at least one House Republican have accused Attorney-General William Barr of mischaracterising Mueller’s findings by trying to put a more favourable spin on them in an effort to protect President Donald Trump.

In a March 27 letter to Barr, Mueller expressed frustration that his work wasn’t fairly captured by Barr’s summary letter, which the attorney general released before making public a redacted version of Mueller’s full report.

Mueller wrote that Barr’s public summary “did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance” of his findings and that Barr’s letter created misunderstandings about the outcome of the investigation.

The Russian ruble dropped more than 1% against the dollar after news of the planned statement was announced.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has disputed the findings of Mueller and US intelligence agencies that his government was behind interference in the 2016 presidential election.