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Mueller’s report on Russia and Trump to be made public Thursday

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By Julia Ainsley and Dartunorro Clark

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s redacted report on the Russia investigation and President Donald Trump is expected to be made public Thursday morning, the Justice Department said Monday.

Washington has been waiting for the release of the report, which has put Attorney General William Barr at loggerheads with congressional Democrats who have demanded the entire, unredacted document since Mueller recently concluded his nearly two-year investigation.

Six House Democratic committee chairs sent a letter to Barr last month requesting that he submit the full report be delivered to Congress by April 2. Barr missed that deadline.

Download the NBC News app for full coverage of the Mueller report’s release

Barr sent a four-page letter to Congress last month summarizing Mueller’s report that said the special counsel found no proof that Trump or anyone associated with his campaign criminally colluded with Russia. Barr also said Mueller reached no conclusion about whether Trump obstructed justice, but did not exonerate the president.

“(W)hile this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him,” the special counsel said in his report, according to Barr’s letter.

Barr said Mueller declined “to make a traditional prosecutorial judgment,” leaving it up to the attorney general to choose whether to pursue obstruction charges against the president. Barr stated that he and deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein both concluded, without consulting Mueller, that based on the special counsel’s findings Trump would not face an obstruction of justice charges for allegedly attempting to impede the investigation.

Trump, meanwhile, has said Mueller’s report represents a total exoneration.

NBC News previously reported, that some members Mueller’s team have expressed frustration that Barr cleared Trump of obstruction of justice, and they believe the evidence that Trump sought to thwart the investigation is stronger than Barr suggested, according to a U.S. official who has spoken with the members.

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Tory leadership race tracker: How Boris Johnson and Rory Stewart fared after BBC debate

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TORY leadership candidate Rory Stewart has suffered a massive drop in support following the BBC debate on Tuesday evening – whilst Boris Johnson is looking more popular than ever.

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Hope Hicks testifies before House committee behind closed doors

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WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump’s former aide Hope Hicks arrived on Capitol Hill Wednesday morning to testify behind closed doors before the House Judiciary Committee.

Democrats planned to focus their questions on what they say are five crimes of obstruction of justice established by the Mueller Report against Trump, as well as campaign finance violations involved with alleged election-year hush money payments.

Her appearance marks the first time a former Trump aide has come in to answer questions before that panel as part of Democrats’ obstruction of justice investigation. A transcript of the interview will be released, though it may not appear for several days.

Other issues Democrats plan to question Hicks about include Trump’s conduct and attitude towards former national security adviser Michael Flynn, Trump’s reaction when former Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from the Russia investigation and the firing of former FBI Director James Comey, among others.

In a letter sent to Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., Tuesday evening, White House Counsel Pat Cipollone asserted that Hicks was not legally required to provide testimony regarding her time working in the White House.

“Ms. Hicks is absolutely immune from being compelled to testify before Congress with respect to matters occurring during her service as a senior adviser to the President,” he wrote.

Nadler dismissed those claims. “I reject that assertion” regarding blanket executive privilege, he said in a response released late Tuesday night, adding that after the panel poses questions to her, “we will address privilege and other objections on a question by question basis.”

Hicks’s testimony comes after the Judiciary Committee issued a subpoena last month for her appearance. She previously served as White House communications director and the White House director of strategic communications after a stint as a senior aide on Trump’s 2016 campaign.

The White House directed Hicks and another former White House aide earlier this month not to hand over any documents to the House Judiciary Committee related to their time at the White House.

Mike Memoli contributed.



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Commons erupts in fury as SNP's Ian Blackford brands Boris Johnson 'racist'

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SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford sparked fury in the House of Commons after he branded former foreign secretary Boris Johnson “racist”.

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