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Donald Trump huddles with closest aides at Mar-a-Lago as he awaits findings of Robert Mueller's report

The Telegraph logo The Telegraph 24/03/2019 Nick Allen

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Donald Trump was huddling with his closest aides and lawyers at Mar-a-Lago this weekend as he braced for the release of special counsel Robert Mueller's report, which has hung like a sword of Damocles over his presidency.

As Mr Trump took to the golf course his lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, compared the wait to "having a baby" or preparing for a jury to return. He added: "If the report is good, I'll hand out cigars."

Asked about the president's mood his deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley said: "He's good".

a close up of a man: Robert Mueller and Donald Trump © AFP Robert Mueller and Donald Trump On Friday, after 675 days, Mr Mueller finished his exhaustive investigation into whether there was collusion between Mr Trump's 2016 presidential campaign and Russia.

He delivered his report, in hard copy form, to Bill Barr, the attorney general, late on Friday, waiting until after the stock market had closed to avoid impacting it.

Mr Barr said he would try to pass on the "principal conclusions" to Congress, and the public, this weekend.

That was expected to include basic information on whether collusion was found, and if Mr Trump had obstructed justice.

While he waited Mr Trump remained uncharacteristically silent on Twitter. During a short speech at a weekend fundraising event at Mar-a-Lago, his Florida retreat, he also did not mention the report. Mr Trump has not been given an advance copy.

In a photo from Wednesday, May 9, 2012, then-FBI Director Robert Mueller appears before the House Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) © ASSOCIATED PRESS In a photo from Wednesday, May 9, 2012, then-FBI Director Robert Mueller appears before the House Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

The only finding immediately made public was that Mr Mueller was not recommending any criminal charges in addition to those he has already brought.

That meant the president's son Donald Jr and son-in-law Jared Kushner, both of whom attended a controversial meeting with a Kremlin-linked Russian lawyer at Trump Tower during the campaign, would not be charged. Mr Kushner had been interviewed at least twice by Mr Mueller's team.

FILE - In this June 19, 2013, file photo, former FBI Director Robert Mueller testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington. On May 17, 2017, the Justice Department said is appointing Mueller as special counsel to oversee investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File) © ASSOCIATED PRESS FILE - In this June 19, 2013, file photo, former FBI Director Robert Mueller testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington. On May 17, 2017, the Justice Department said is appointing Mueller as special counsel to oversee investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File) It is the policy of the US justice department that it cannot charge a sitting president with a crime.

Therefore, it was still unclear whether the report would contain suggestions of criminal activity by the president.

However, supporters of the president were increasingly confident it would exonerate him, based partly on the fact that Mr Trump was never interviewed by Mr Mueller, only answering questions in writing.

Joe diGenova, a former legal adviser to Mr Trump, added: "This is a grand slam for President Trump. If Barr says he can brief Congress by this weekend, that means he has nothing."

President Donald Trump waves as he boards his motorcade vehicle after he and first lady Melania Trump attend a service at Saint John's Church in Washington, Sunday, March 17, 2019 (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster) © ASSOCIATED PRESS President Donald Trump waves as he boards his motorcade vehicle after he and first lady Melania Trump attend a service at Saint John's Church in Washington, Sunday, March 17, 2019 (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster) Democrats demanded that the full report must be published because it went "to the integrity of our democracy itself - whether foreign powers corruptly interfered in our elections, and whether unlawful means were used to hinder that investigation."

They also threatened to subpoena Mr Barr, and Mr Mueller, to give evidence to Congress if the full report was not released.

Such a move would be vigorously contested by the White House.

Mr Mueller delivered his report to Mr Barr in hard copy form. Mr Barr's office then informed the White House, and 20 minutes later told Congress.

People take part in a protest to protect the investigation led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, in New York City, U.S., November 8, 2018. REUTERS/Jeenah Moon © Thomson Reuters People take part in a protest to protect the investigation led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, in New York City, U.S., November 8, 2018. REUTERS/Jeenah Moon The attorney general was in his office early on Saturday to read the report, which was described by one of his officials as "comprehensive". 

Over the course of the investigation Mr Mueller brought charges against 34 people, including Mr Trump's former campaign chairman, his former national security adviser, and his former personal lawyer.

Mr Trump has repeatedly called it a "witch hunt". On Twitter he has used the term 183 times, and argued there was "no collusion" 71 times.

The president was said by aides to be relieved that the report had finally been completed.

Mr Giuliani said: "This marks the end of the Russia investigation. We await a disclosure of the facts. We are confident that there is no finding of collusion, that he did nothing wrong."

President Donald Trump meets with Caribbean leaders at Mar-A Lago, Friday, March 22, 2019, in Palm Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster) © ASSOCIATED PRESS President Donald Trump meets with Caribbean leaders at Mar-A Lago, Friday, March 22, 2019, in Palm Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster) Whatever emerges from the report it may not spell the end to legal entanglements for Mr Trump.

In New York his former lawyer Michael Cohen has pleaded guilty to campaign finance violations and claimed that his crimes were carried out at the direction of Mr Trump.

Prosecutors there are also looking into the spending of Mr Trump's inaugural committee and practices at the Trump Organization, the family business.

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