Special counsel Bob Mueller determined that President Donald Trump and his campaign did not collude with Russia during their interference in the 2016 election but found evidence that the president may have obstructed justice, though no charges will be filed, Attorney General Bill Barr said.
Barr said in a letter to members of the Senate and House Judiciary Committees summarizing the key findings in the Mueller report, which was submitted on Friday, that Mueller after two years determined there was no conspiracy “despite multiple offers from Russian-affiliated individuals to assist the Trump campaign.”
Barr wrote that the special counsel found evidence that the president may have obstructed justice but declined to make a prosecutorial recommendation, so Barr and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein determined that there was insufficient evidence to establish that Trump obstructed justice.
“While this report does not conclude that the president committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him” on the obstruction of justice issue, Mueller said in his report.
Barr has said that he will not release Mueller’s report, per Justice Department guidelines, though Congressional Democrats have demanded its release and vowed to pursue legal steps.
Over the course of the investigation, six former Trump aides and advisers were indicted or convicted of crimes. Twenty-five Russian intelligence operatives were charged as well.
Mueller concluded that Russia acted to influence the 2016 election.
Trump claims he’s been fully exonerated:
Despite Mueller’s caveat in Barr’s four-page letter summarizing the lengthy report, Trump declared total victory after the letter was made public.
“It was a complete and total exoneration,” Trump told reporters Sunday. “It’s a shame that our country had to go through this. To be honest, it’s a shame that your president has had to go through this. This was an illegal takedown that failed.”
Trump still under many other investigations:
House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler, who is leading one of the multiple sweeping investigations into Trump World, refuted Barr’s claims to Congress and vowed to hold hearings on the matter.
"Attorney General Barr, who auditioned for his role with a memo saying that it was almost impossible for any president to commit obstruction, made a decision in under 48 hours," Nadler told reporters Sunday. "It is unconscionable that President Trump would try to spin the findings as if his conduct was acceptable.”
“Special Counsel Mueller clearly and explicitly is not exonerating the President, and we must hear from AG Barr about his decision making and see all the underlying evidence for the American people to know all the facts,” Nadler added on Twitter.
Along with the House probes, Trump is also under investigation by federal investigators in the Southern District of New York, the New York State Attorney General’s office, the New York Department of Financial Services and the New York State Tax Department. He also faces multiple lawsuits.
Questions about collusion finding persist:
Though Barr said that Mueller found no collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, there were multiple instances in which the Trump campaign welcomed Russian overtures.
“Campaign officials at times were eager to accept benefits from Russia’s covert operation. ‘I love it,’ Donald Trump Jr., the president’s eldest son, responded when an intermediary said a Russian emissary wanted to give the campaign damaging information on Hillary Clinton at a Trump Tower meeting in June 2016,” The New York Times reported. Mr. Trump himself urged Russia to try to unearth deleted emails from a private server Mrs. Clinton had used when she was secretary of state. And Roger J. Stone, Jr., the president’s longtime friend, tried to enlist intermediaries to connect with WikiLeaks, Russia’s chosen depository for Democratic emails stolen by Russian hackers.”
“But absent an agreement with the Russian government to break the law, former Justice Department officials said, none of that made Mr. Trump or his associates into co-conspirators with the Kremlin,” the Times added.