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No Mueller report next week, says Justice Department official

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By Julia Ainsley  with NBC News Politics
Image: Robert Mueller departs after a closed-door meeting
Special counsel Robert Mueller departs after a closed-door meeting with members of the Senate Judiciary Committee about Russian meddling in the election and possible connection to the Trump campaign, at the Capitol in Washington on June 21, 2017.   -   Copyright  J. Scott Applewhite AP file

WASHINGTON — Attorney General William Barr will not receive the final report of special counsel Robert Mueller by the end of next week, says a senior Justice Department official.

Multiple news outlets, including NBC News, CNN and the Washington Post, reported this week that Mueller's report on his team's investigation of alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia could be sent to the attorney general as early as next week.

NBC News first reported in December that the Mueller report could be delivered as soon as mid-February.

Under the special counsel regulations, Mueller must send his findings on Russian meddling in the 2016 election to the attorney general. It will then be Barr's responsibility to provide a brief report of the findings to Congress and his decision on whether or not to make any part of the report public.

Certain material, such as grand jury testimony, will remain sealed from the public. At the heart of Mueller's inquiry is the central question: Did the president or anyone on his campaign knowingly collude with the Russians to influence the 2016 presidential election?