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Special Counsel Robert Mueller concludes Russia investigation, submits report to attorney general

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images North America/AFP | Robert Mueller testifies as FBI director on Capitol Hill on May 16, 2013.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller has concluded the Russia investigation and has submitted a report to Attorney General William Barr.

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Special counsel Robert Mueller was looking into whether the Trump campaign coordinated with Russia and whether the president obstructed the investigation.

The confidential report will be reviewed by Attorney General William Barr, who does not have to make the report public but must summarise it for Congress.

Democrats have called for the report to be made available to the public.

Investigators examined key events such as Trump's firing of FBI Director James Comey and Trump's fury over Attorney General Jeff Sessions' recusal in connection with the obstruction of justice allegations.

Evidence made public so far shows that a broad range of Trump associates had Russia-related contacts during the 2016 presidential campaign and transition period, and several lied about the communications.

There is also evidence that some people in Trump's orbit were discussing a possible email dump from WikiLeaks before it occurred. US intelligence agencies and Mueller have said Russia was the source of hacked material released by WikiLeaks during the campaign that was damaging to Democrat Hillary Clinton's presidential effort.

The White House on Thursday rejected a Democratic request for information on private conversations between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin. In a letter earlier this month, the House intelligence, foreign affairs and oversight committees asked for the substance of Trump and Putin's conversations in person and by phone.

White House counsel Pat Cipollone sent a letter Thursday to the Democratic chairs of those three committees rebuffing the requests.

"The president must be free to engage in discussions with foreign leaders without fear that those communications will be disclosed and used as fodder for partisan political purposes," Cipollone wrote.

Prosecutors have implicated Trump in a crime in a separate case in New York. They say Trump directed his former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, to make illegal hush-money payments to two women as a way to quash potential sex scandals during the campaign. New York prosecutors also are looking into Trump's inaugural fund.

Congressional investigations also are swirling around the president. Democrats have launched a sweeping probe of Trump, an aggressive investigation that threatens to shadow the president through the 2020 election season.

(FRANCE 24 with AP)

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