Grassley cites "rumors" for belief Mueller's findings will be released within a month

By Kathryn Watson

/ CBS News

Whitaker: Russia investigation wrapping up

Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley told radio host Hugh Hewitt Tuesday he expects special counsel Robert Mueller's conclusions to be released "within a month," if they ever do become public. But Grassley later clarified to CBS News that his assertion was based on "rumors" and he probably shouldn't have said that.

Asked on Hewitt's show Tuesday when he expects to see any report Mueller has, Grassley said, "Within a month, if we see it. … I don't care what the report says. We paid $25 million, maybe $35 million to do it, and the public ought to know what their $25 or $35 million bought. And except for national security and privacy of individuals, those would be understandably redacted, everything else, I think, ought to be out."

But Grassley later clarified, pressed by CBS News' John Nolen, that his claim about Mueller's timeline was just based on "all the rumors you hear."

"It's just based upon all the rumors you hear, which probably isn't a very good basis for me saying what I said," Grassley said on Capitol Hill. "But I'm getting tired of for the last 13 months it's been reported every month it was going to come out and I want it out."

Acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker told CBS News correspondent Paula Reid last month in a press conference that Mueller's probe is "close to being completed" although he didn't elaborate on that assertion. Asked about Whitaker's claim last week, Grassley said his expectations about the Mueller report were low. He said he was "very pessimistic" about the report being released soon. It's unclear what, if anything, has changed in the last week.

"I thought at Christmas 2017 it was going to wrap up. So I'm very pessimistic about it," Grassley said last week.

Bill Barr, the president's nominee for attorney general, suggested Mueller's findings might not be made public in the end. Mr. Trump said he will leave the decision on what to do about Mueller's findings to his attorney general. Barr has said it's "very important" Mueller's investigation be allowed to conclude on its own.

— CBS News' John Nolen and Alan He contributed to this report

First published on February 5, 2019

© 2019 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Kathryn Watson

Kathryn Watson is a politics reporter for CBS News Digital.

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