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December 13, 2018

Special Counsel Robert Mueller might be taking the Russia investigation south.

After more than a year of probing President Trump's connections to Moscow, the special counsel's office has moved into "Middle Eastern countries' attempts to influence American politics," sources tell The Daily Beast. Court filings detailing the first round of those findings are reportedly set for release early next year.

So far, Mueller's team has turned out charges against 33 different people — 26 of whom are Russian — and three Russia-based companies, per Vox. But as part of the team investigated the Trump campaign's involvement with Russia, another has reportedly been looking into any involvement with Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. These three countries "pushed cash to Washington politicos in an attempt to sway policy under President Trump's administration," The Daily Beast writes. The probe has reportedly found these countries sought to use social media to get Trump elected — something that's reminiscent of Russia's supposed actions.

After months of investigation, Mueller's Middle East team is just about ready to release its findings and even levy charges, sources tell The Daily Beast. These reported findings likely stem from former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn's cooperation with Mueller, seeing as he apparently spoke with Middle Eastern officials along with Russians.

Mueller only had authority from the Justice Department to investigate the Trump campaign's Russia ties. So Middle Eastern connections would either have to overlap with Russia, or Mueller would've needed additional authority from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to probe further, an attorney says. Read more about what Mueller could drop next at The Daily Beast. Kathryn Krawczyk

5:16 p.m.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller did not definitively conclude that President Trump or his associates during his 2016 presidential campaign colluded with Russian election interference, Attorney General William Barr's letter to Congress briefing them on the matter revealed on Sunday.

That revelation has already led to the White House declaring Mueller's findings a "total and complete exoneration" of Trump.

However, the report also did not make a conclusive decision on whether or not Trump obstructed justice during the investigation. Instead, it will be up to Barr "to determine whether the conduct described in the report constitutes a crime."

So, on the obstruction front, Trump still does not appear to be completely in the clear. Tim O'Donnell

5:08 p.m.

President Trump declared victory on Sunday over the findings of Special Counsel Robert Muller's investigation into 2016 election interference, which he called an "illegal takedown."

Trump spoke with reporters after Attorney General William Barr told Congress that Mueller did not find that Trump or his associates conspired with Russia to influence the election. Mueller did not reach a conclusion about whether the president obstructed justice, saying the investigation did not exonerate Trump of this crime. Barr said that he and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein concluded there was insufficient evidence.

Trump called the investigation a "complete and total exoneration," saying that "it's a shame that our country had to go through this" and that "it's a shame that your president had to go through this." He also called the investigation an "illegal takedown that failed" and said that now "hopefully somebody is going to be looking at the other side." Watch Trump's first comments on the Mueller report below. Brendan Morrow

5:00 p.m.

House Judiciary Chair Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) isn't completely convinced of President Trump's self-described exoneration.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller delivered his investigation of the Trump campaign's conduct surrounding Russian election interference to Attorney General Barr on Friday. On Sunday, Barr shared preliminary conclusions from the report with congressional Judiciary Committees, notably saying that Mueller's report "did not find that the Trump campaign or anyone associated with it conspired or coordinated with Russia in its efforts to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election."

Still, Barr conceded that Trump "may have acted to obstruct justice," as Nadler put it in a series of tweets after receiving the letter. And while Barr said there wasn't enough evidence to charge Trump on that crime, Nadler's tweets implied that he'd like Barr to take a bit more time before drawing that conclusion, since Barr said he's still reviewing Mueller's report. Nadler also pledged to call Barr to testify before his committee "in the near future."

Read what's in Barr's letter to Congress here. Kathryn Krawczyk

4:50 p.m.

There has been a lot of uncertainty as to just how much of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into the Trump campaign's conduct amid Russian election interference would be made available to Congress and the public. That still remains unclear after Attorney General William Barr sent a letter to Congress briefing them on the "principle conclusions" of Mueller's investigation.

However, Barr did say that he intends to release as much of the report as possible, CNN reports.

He also said that Mueller will be involved in redaction efforts, particularly in terms of removing secret jury testimony, as well as material that is pertinent to ongoing investigations that have branched off from Mueller's initial investigation.

Barr wrote that once that process is complete he will "move forward expeditiously in determining" what can officially be revealed. Tim O'Donnell

4:33 p.m.

The White House on Sunday called Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report on Russian election interference a "total and complete exoneration" of President Trump.

Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders reached this conclusion in a statement, saying that Mueller "did not find any collusion and did not find any obstruction."

Mueller's report did not find that Trump's campaign conspired with Russia to influence the 2016 election, according to Attorney General William Barr, although it did not make a determination on whether he obstructed justice. Barr quotes Mueller as saying that "while this report does not conclude that the president committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him." Barr says that he and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein concluded that there is not sufficient evidence to show Trump obstructed justice.

Trump's lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, similarly told CNN on Sunday that the report is a "complete exoneration" of Trump. Brendan Morrow

4:17 p.m.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) on Sunday celebrated the news that Special Counsel Robert Mueller did not conclude President Trump or his associates conspired with Russia to influence the 2016 election.

Graham, a close ally of Trump, in a statement released after Attorney General William Barr's summary of the Mueller report said this is a "great day for President Trump and his team," adding that the report shows there was "no collusion and no obstruction," per Bloomberg News. Graham also said that "the cloud hanging over President Trump has been removed by this report."

Barr's report said that Mueller's investigation "did not find that the Trump campaign or anyone associated with it conspired or coordinated with Russia in its efforts to influence the 2016 US Presidential Election." It did not reach a conclusion about whether Trump obstructed justice. Brendan Morrow

4:05 p.m.

Attorney General William Barr said he's still reviewing Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report on the investigation into whether the Trump presidential campaign colluded with Russian election interference in 2016. But he has outlined the principal conclusions of the investigation in a letter to Congress.

"I believe that it is in the public interest to describe the report and summarize the principal conclusions reached by the Special Counsel," he wrote in the letter.

Read Barr's letter to Congress below or on the House Judiciary Committee's website. Tim O'Donnell

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