Donald Trump’s campaign is not in collusion with the Russians, Mueller report says
Special Advocate Robert Mueller found no evidence of collusion with Russia but did not exonerate the president Donald Trump on obstruction of justice although Attorney General William Barr said he had not found enough evidence to prosecute an obstruction charge.
“The report found evidence on both sides of the issue” on the obstruction and “leaves open what the special advocate sees as difficult legal issues,” Barr wrote in a four-page letter to Congress on Sunday. . Barr quoted Mueller as saying, “While this report does not conclude that the president committed a crime, it does not exonerate him either.”
Nonetheless, Barr said in his letter that he and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein “have concluded that the evidence developed during the Special Advisor’s investigation is not sufficient to establish that the President committed an obstruction offense. to justice ”.
Trump read the report as clarifying the two major allegations that hovered over his presidency – collusion and obstruction of justice – even as Democrats in Congress asserted their right to determine Trump’s guilt or innocence on these issues.
“No collusion, no obstruction, total and utter exemption,” Trump tweeted about an hour after the publication of Barr’s summary. He told reporters in Palm Beach, Florida that it was “an illegal withdrawal that failed.”
Of Russia’s 2016 hacking operation, Barr said: “The Special Adviser did not find that the Trump campaign, or anyone associated with it, conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in these efforts, despite multiple offers from individuals affiliated with Russia to help the Trump Campaign. “
The White House was not involved in any review or discussion of the Mueller report and did not consult Barr’s summary in advance, according to a Justice Department official.
“The Special Adviser found no collusion and found no obstruction,” White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement. “Attorney General Barr and Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein further determined that there was no obstruction. The findings of the Department of Justice are a full and complete exoneration of the President of the United States. “
Barr released his summary of Mueller’s findings – and his determination with Rosenstein that there wasn’t enough evidence of obstruction of justice – just two days after receiving Mueller’s final report. The special advocate was not consulted on the letter containing the obstruction judgment, according to a justice ministry official.
It was the end of a politically explosive 22-month investigation into whether Trump or his entourage had conspired in Russian meddling in the 2016 campaign and whether the president was seeking to obstruct justice.
This will certainly only be the beginning of months of fighting in Congress – and possibly in the courts – over what should be disclosed in Mueller’s report. Barr said in a letter to Congress on Friday that after this initial summary, he will consult with Mueller and Rosenstein to determine what other information in the report can be released to Congress and the public.
Nothing in the Justice Department’s special advice regulations would prevent Barr from releasing Mueller’s report once certain material is redacted, including classified questions and information on ongoing police operations. But Barr cited the ministry’s policies against public criticism of someone who is not charged – and against indicting a sitting president.
Democratic lawmakers have already demanded the full report along with the underlying evidence so that they can continue their own investigations.
Representative Jerrold Nadler, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said in a tweet: “In light of the very concerning discrepancies and the final decision making at the Justice Department following the special adviser’s report, where Mueller did not exonerate the president, we will call Attorney General Barr to testify.
But President of the Senate Judiciary Lindsey Graham, a close ally of Trump, said in a statement: “A bad day for those hoping the Mueller inquiry would bring down President Trump.”
Trump, who has proclaimed or tweeted “NO COLLUSION” over 200 times and has consistently denounced Mueller’s “witch hunt”, made no comment on the special council’s report over the weekend in Florida. He spent much of his time on his golf course with partners including Graham. Democratic candidates seeking to replace him in 2020 have teamed up to demand the full release of the report.
Justice Department officials, who described Mueller’s report as complete, said he recommended no additional indictments and had no secret indictments under seal.
Some Trump allies said the result amounted to justification much like their victory on election night in 2016, once again overcoming what they saw as an attempt by Democrats to stop Trump. It also allayed some fear among Trump aides that Mueller’s findings would give Democrats solid ammunition to demand the president’s impeachment.
Before completing his investigation, Mueller helped secure guilty pleas from five people involved in Trump’s presidential campaign – including his campaign chairman Paul Manafort and Michael Flynn, who became his first national security adviser – well none of them admitted to conspiring with Russian agents. He has also indicted more than two dozen Russian hackers and military intelligence agents.
While Mueller has not requested an impeachment against Trump or members of his family, they are not necessarily clear.
Trump faces the continued risk of further investigations, as New York federal prosecutors scrutinize his business, his presidential campaign, and his inaugural committee. Mueller shared some cases and handed others over to the US attorney’s office in Manhattan; Alexandria, Virginia; and Washington, as well as the National Security Division of the Department of Justice. This can keep cases that affect his personal and professional affairs alive.
Through a series of indictments, Mueller presented an image of agents and hackers linked to Russian intelligence agencies doing everything possible to help place Trump in the White House even as other Russian officials had extensive contact with people linked to Trump’s campaign.
In Friday’s letter to the heads of the House and Senate Judiciary Committees, Barr said, “I remain committed to as much transparency as possible, and I will keep you updated on the status of my review.
But Barr suggested during his confirmation hearing in February that he could exclude any criticism of Trump and others who were not accused of crimes from information he would share with Congress.
“If you’re not going to charge someone, then you’re not standing there and dumping negative information on the person,” he said.
Additionally, Trump and his attorneys have indicated that before details of Mueller’s findings are made public, they want to see anything that might leak the president’s private communications. They say they want to preserve their right to claim executive privilege, the doctrine that a president must have the ability to receive frank advice.
Congressional Democrats – who now control the House – say they want wide disclosure of Mueller’s investigative work, citing Republicans’ earlier success in pressuring the Justice Department to release details that , according to them, showed an anti-Trump bias in the FBI. They talked about issuing subpoenas to force disclosure and even public testimony from Mueller.
“It is imperative for Mr. Barr to make the full report public and provide its documentation and underlying findings to Congress,” House of Commons Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer said on Friday in a joint press release.
Silence of Mueller
Mueller, a former director of the FBI, was appointed in May 2017 to lead one of the most significant investigations in US history. He hasn’t said a word in public since then, leaving the indictments he filed to support his case.
Beyond Russian electoral meddling – which US intelligence agencies said was aimed at harming Democrat Hillary Clinton and ultimately helping Trump win – Mueller investigated possible collusion in the operation and whether Trump has sought to obstruct justice in what the president has repeatedly denounced as a “witch hunt.”
In particular, Mueller investigated Trump’s efforts to get then FBI Director James Comey to drop an investigation into Flynn, the former national security adviser. Mueller also investigated whether Trump’s decision to fire Comey in May 2017 amounted to obstruction of justice.
Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general, appointed Mueller as special advocate days after Comey’s sacking.
Mueller indicted and convicted Manafort, the former campaign chairman, for a series of financial crimes, and he was sentenced to 7.5 years in prison. He also secured guilty pleas and cooperative deals with Flynn, Trump’s campaign vice president Richard Gates, campaign foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos and former Trump lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen.
Mueller’s investigation cost around $ 25 million between his appointment in May 2017 and September 2018, according to the latest figures provided by the Justice Department in December.