Justice Department rules require that Mueller submit a confidential report when his work is done. William Barr, the man likely to be confirmed as his next boss, has cast doubt on whether he would permit that document to be revealed. And those who know him say Mueller, reluctant to speak publicly even when the circumstances seem to require it, is unlikely to do it on his own.

“A public narrative has built an expectation that the special counsel will explain his conclusions, but I think that expectation may be seriously misplaced,” said John Pistole, who served as Mueller’s longtime top deputy at the FBI. “That’s not what the rules provide, and I really don’t see him straying from the mission. That’s not who he is.”

The Justice Department’s special counsel rules don’t call for Mueller to make any public statements about his work, let alone deliver a report of what he has found. Instead, his confidential report must explain why he filed the charges he did, and why he might have declined to bring charges against others. It would be up to the attorney general to decide whether that becomes public.