Mueller probe 'close to being completed,' acting attorney general says
Investigation looking at potential co-ordination between Russia, Trump campaign
Special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into potential co-ordination between Russia and the Trump campaign is "close to being completed," the acting attorney general said Monday.
Speaking at an unrelated news conference in Washington, acting attorney general Matthew Whitaker said he had been "fully briefed" on the special counsel's investigation. He began overseeing the probe after former attorney general Jeff Sessions resigned at U.S. President Donald Trump's request in November.
"The investigation is, I think, close to being completed, and I hope that we can get the report from director Mueller as soon as possible," Whitaker said.
He said he was looking forward to Mueller delivering his report. The investigation is looking at Russian interference in the 2016 election and ties to Trump's campaign.
Watch what Roger Stone's indictment could mean for Trump:
Whitaker has drawn criticism over his decision not to recuse himself from the Russia investigation even though a top Justice Department ethics official advised him to step aside out of an "abundance of caution." His past criticism of the Russia investigation has raised questions about whether he can oversee it fairly.
Trump has nominated William Barr to serve as the next attorney general. His confirmation hearing was held this month and he's awaiting a vote in the Senate.
Cohen to talk behind closed doors
Trump's former lawyer, Michael Cohen, has agreed to talk to the House Intelligence Committee behind closed doors on Feb. 8.
That's according to California Rep. Adam Schiff, who says Cohen will be appearing voluntarily. The announcement comes after Cohen postponed a separate hearing with the House Oversight and Reform Committee, citing co-operation with Mueller's investigation and threats against his family.
Schiff says Cohen relayed "legitimate concerns" about his and his family's safety. He says the committee will work with law enforcement to protect him.
Cohen is a central figure in Mueller's probe. He also played a pivotal role in buying the silence of a porn actress and a former Playboy Playmate who alleged they had sex with Trump. The president denies the claims.
So far, 34 people, including six Trump associates, have been charged by Mueller. Those charged in addition to Cohen include Trump's former national security adviser, his campaign chairman and two other campaign aides.
Meanwhile on Monday, a judge delayed the sentencing of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort in Virginia. Manafort was convicted of eight financial crimes at a Virginia trial last year.
The sentencing was delayed as a judge in Washington decides whether Manafort intentionally lied to investigators. Manafort agreed to co-operate in the special counsel's investigation, but prosecutors allege he breached the deal in that case by lying. Manafort's attorneys say he just didn't have a perfect recollection of all the facts