Special counsel Robert Mueller has been investigating the alleged improper ties between the Trump administration and Russia since May 2017 — ties which Trump and his associates have denied. Since the special counsel has now been conducting its investigation for around a year, you may be wondering when exactly the Russia investigation will be over?
As it turns out, Rudy Giuliani, Trump's lawyer, said on Sunday that the special counsel is supposedly seeking to finish its investigation into the President Trump-related aspects of the Russia investigation by September 1. According to the New York Times, The Trump-related aspects of the query include examining whether or not Trump obstructed the Russia investigation (Trump has denied any allegations of obstruction of justice) . However, the broader Russia investigation could continue for much longer.
The New York Times reported that Giuliani said that special counsel Mueller told him approximately two weeks ago that the latter hoped to wrap up his investigation into Trump by September 1. However, according to Giuliani, this timeline is contingent on whether or not Trump agrees to be interviewed by Mueller. As Trump's lawyer told CNN, Giuliani was given the impression by Mueller that, if the president agreed to an interview, any inquires regarding Trump's actions related to the Russia investigation would likely conclude by the first of September. CNN and the New York Times reported that the special counsel declined to comment on the reported timeline.
Moreover, CNN also noted that Trump may not necessarily agree to an interview. Giuliani told the network on Monday that Trump was not inclined to do an interview with the special counsel unless he had details about an FBI informant who spoke with two Trump campaign advisors in 2016 — after the bureau had received evidence that the advisors allegedly had questionable contacts to Russia. While, according to the New York Times, the FBI said that the informant was solely used to investigate alleged Russian ties to the presidential campaign, Trump has accused the agency of infiltrating his campaign.
The president has demanded that the Department of Justice look further into the matter, tweeting on May 20:
I hereby demand, and will do so officially tomorrow, that the Department of Justice look into whether or not the FBI/DOJ infiltrated or surveilled the Trump Campaign for Political Purposes - and if any such demands or requests were made by people within the Obama Administration!
Giuliani also emphasized to ABC News on May 20 that knowing further details about the FBI informant constitutes a sticking point for Trump before he will agree to an interview with Mueller. As Giuliani put it:
We can't prepare for any interview by the president until we know what this person may have said ... We think the guy [informant] is going to support the fact that there was nothing going on as it relates to Russia and the campaign but we don't know that until we see the interview notes.
If Mueller does indeed wrap up the Trump-related portions of his investigation by September 1, it does not mean that the Russia investigation is finished. As the New York Times reported, the special counsel's broader investigation consists of a counterintelligence examination into whether or not Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election — and whether anyone associated with Trump was a part of this alleged interference. As the paper pointed out, carrying out a full counterintelligence investigation could take years.
Giuliani stressed to the New York Times that he believes it is important to wrap up the Trump-related components of the special counsel's investigation as soon as possible, in order to avoid potentially influencing voters in the upcoming midterm elections in November. "You don't want another repeat of the 2016 election where you get contrary reports at the end and you don't know how it affected the election," Giuliani told the paper.
Time will soon tell whether or not Mueller will seek to wrap up part of the special counsel investigation by September 1, as Giuliani implied, or if Americans will still be awaiting the outcome of the investigation as they head to the polls on November 6.