Over the weekend, Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani said that special counsel Robert Mueller assured him that the investigation into whether President Trump obstructed justice in the Russia inquiry would be over by Sept. 1.
As the one-year anniversary of the special counsel’s assignment approached on May 17, Giuliani and Trump surrogates had been agitating for an end to the probe. On Sunday, Giuliani told media outlets that he had seen Mueller’s timeline and projected end date, which was contingent on the president sitting for an interview.
Will Robert Mueller’s investigation really end on Sept. 1?
It looks like the answer is no.
The same day that Giuliani spoke about the deadline, a U.S. official said it wasn’t true. Reuters quoted a “source familiar with the probe” as saying the Sept. 1 deadline was “entirely made-up” by Giuliani and “another apparent effort to pressure the special counsel to hasten the end of his work.”
“He’ll wrap it up when he thinks he’s turned over every rock, and when that is will depend on how cooperative witnesses, persons of interest and maybe even some targets are, if any of those emerge, and on what new evidence he finds, not on some arbitrary, first-of-the-month deadline one of the president’s attorneys cooks up,” the official told Reuters.
Giuliani had made the Sept. 1 claim to the New York Times and Associated Press. “We said to them, ‘If we’re going to be interviewed in July, how much time until the report gets issued?’” Giuliani told the AP on Sunday, referencing the report Mueller is expected to issue to Congress at the end of his investigation. “They said September, which is good for everyone, because no one wants this to drag into the midterms.”
Giuliani said he wanted to avoid a situation similar to the 2016 election, when FBI director James Comey’s announcement that he was reopening an investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email server 11 days before Election Day is believed by some to have altered her momentum in the race.
The special counsel’s office, as usual, had no comment.