DOJ's Whitaker says Russia probe 'close' to being completed

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Whitaker, who was handpicked by President Donald Trump to replace ousted Attorney General Jeff Sessions on an acting basis, added he has been "fully briefed" on Mueller's inquiry.

"What if there actually is an indictment-worthy case to be made, and they then take the position that, 'Well, he's an uncharged person and therefore this is derogatory information and we're not going to talk about it, '" Whitehouse said.

Peter Carr, a spokesman for Mueller, declined to comment.

The issue comes down to what Barr meant when he told the committee that he would be as transparent as possible "consistent with the law" when it comes to the report Mueller would submit to him at the end of the investigation.

Whitaker later joined the Justice Department as chief of staff to then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions, whom President Trump forced out soon after Election Day previous year. In his response, Barr acknowledged that regulations allow the attorney general to publicly release his report "to the extent that release would comply with legal restrictions". Honig also said it was "a rookie-level tactical giveaway" to reveal that Mueller's probe may be winding down. The White House may try to assert executive privilege to prevent key findings from being turned over to Congress and the public, according to people familiar with internal deliberations.

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The Senate Judiciary Committee has delayed a vote on attorney general nominee William Barr's confirmation as Democrats continue to express concern over Barr's potential handling of special counsel Robert Mueller's probe, The Washington Post reported Tuesday. Barr provided written answers to follow-up questions from his confirmation hearing. That is likely to result in more criticism from lawmakers who are seeking ironclad assurances that the public will get to read Mueller's report.

Yet the delayed Judiciary committee vote means that it will be hard for the Senate to confirm Barr before current acting attorney general Matthew G. Whitaker is due on Capitol Hill on February 8 to answer the House Judiciary Committee's questions about his oversight of the Mueller probe.

The Senate is expected to confirm Barr as the next attorney general. If the special counsel were fired or resigned, a public report would have to be released in two weeks. "I don't think he is ending on Roger Stone but might be".

Democrats have faulted Barr for a memo he sent to the Justice Department past year criticizing Mueller for looking into Trump's firing of former FBI Director James Comey as possible obstruction. But it is the latest reflection of the deep partisan tension surrounding Barr's nomination, most of which centers on Democrats' desire to protect Mueller's probe from being unduly constrained.

Trump has repeatedly accused the special counsel team of being a biased "witch hunt" against him.