Special counsel Robert Mueller closed his long and contentious Russia investigation with no new charges Friday, ending the probe that has cast a shadow over Donald Trump’s presidency.

The report’s details remained a mystery, accessible to only a handful of Justice Department officials while Attorney General William Barr prepared to release the “principal conclusions” soon. But the closure of the 22-month probe without additional indictments by Mueller was welcome news.

The Justice Department said the report was delivered by a security officer Friday afternoon to the office of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, and then it went to Barr. Word of the delivery triggered reactions across Washington, including Democrats’ demands that it be quickly released to the public and Republicans’ contentions that it ended two years of wasted time and money.

A copy of a letter from Attorney General William Barr advising Congress that Special Counsel Robert Mueller has concluded his investigation, is shown Friday, March 22, 2019 in Washington. (AP Photo/Jon Elswick)
A copy of a letter from Attorney General William Barr advising Congress that Special Counsel Robert Mueller has concluded his investigation, is shown Friday, March 22, 2019 in Washington. (AP Photo/Jon Elswick)

The next step is up to Barr, who is charged with writing his own account of Mueller’s findings and sending it to Congress. In a letter to lawmakers , he declared he was committed to transparency and speed. He said he could provide the special counsel’s “principal findings” to Congress this weekend, but that likely won’t be the last of the information he provides to lawmakers or the public.

The attorney general said the Justice Department had not denied any request from the special counsel, something Barr would have been required to disclose to ensure there was no political inference.

The delivery of the report does mean the investigation has concluded without any public charges of a criminal conspiracy between the campaign and Russia, or of obstruction by the president. A Justice Department official confirmed that Mueller was not recommending any further indictments.

That person, who described the document as “comprehensive,” was not authorized to discuss the probe and asked for anonymity.

Attorney General William Barr leaves his home in McLean, Va., on Friday, March 22, 2019. Special Counsel Robert Mueller is expected to present a report to the Justice Department any day now outlining the findings of his nearly two-year investigation into Russian election meddling, possible collusion with Trump campaign officials and possible obstruction of justice by Trump . (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)
Attorney General William Barr leaves his home in McLean, Va., on Friday, March 22, 2019. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

In his letter to lawmakers, Barr noted the Justice Department had not denied any request from the special counsel, something Barr would have been required to disclose to ensure there was no political inference. Trump was never interviewed in person, but submitted answers to questions in writing.

The mere delivery of the confidential findings set off swift, full-throated demands from Democrats for full release of Mueller’s report and the supporting evidence collected during the sweeping probe. As Mueller’s probe has wound down, Democrats have increasingly shifted their focus to their own investigations, ensuring the special counsel’s would not be the last word on the matter.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer declared it “imperative” to make the full report public, a call echoed by several Democrats vying to challenge Trump in 2020.

“The American people have a right to the truth,” Schumer and Pelosi said in a joint statement.

“The White House must not be allowed to interfere in decisions about what parts of those findings or evidence are made public,” they said in a joint statement.

FILE - In this June 21, 2017 file photo, former FBI Director Robert Mueller, the special counsel probing Russian interference in the 2016 election, departs Capitol Hill following a closed door meeting in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)
FILE – In this June 21, 2017 file photo, former FBI Director Robert Mueller, the special counsel probing Russian interference in the 2016 election, departs Capitol Hill following a closed door meeting in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)

Spokeswoman Sarah Sanders suggested the White House would not interfere, saying “we look forward to the process taking its course.”

The White House did receive a brief heads-up on the report’s arrival Friday. Barr’s chief of staff called White House Counsel Emmet Flood Friday about 20 minutes before sending the letter went to the Republican and Democratic leaders of the Senate and House Judiciary committees.

The chairman of the Senate panel, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, was keynote speaker Friday night at a Palm Beach County GOP dinner at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort.

The president and first lady Melania Trump stopped by the dinner and made a few minutes of remarks but didn’t mention the Mueller report, according to a senior administration official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to share details of the event, which was closed to the press.

Barr has said he wants to make as much public as possible, but any efforts to withhold details is sure to prompt a tussle between the Justice Department and lawmakers who may subpoena Mueller and his investigators to testify before Congress. Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., threatened a subpoena Friday.

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