Attorney General William Barr has released a summary of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s much-anticipated report, finding no collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia in 2016.
After two years of investigation, Mueller’s report “did not establish that members of the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities,” Barr wrote.
Despite the high-profile indictments of several key Trump associates, like former campaign manager Paul Manafort, former lawyer Michael Cohen and former adviser Roger Stone, none of these indictments were related to collusion, and no further indictments will be issued.
The Special Counsel did not find any collusion and did not find any obstruction. AG Barr and DAG Rosenstein further determined there was no obstruction. The findings of the Department of Justice are a total and complete exoneration of the President of the United States.”
— Sarah Sanders (@PressSec) March 24, 2019
Mueller’s report does claim that the Russian government sought to influence the 2016 election, but admits that no “US persons or Trump campaign officials” participated in this effort.
The report accuses an organization, the Internet Research Agency, of conducting “disinformation and social media operations” to sow social discord, and alleges Russian hackers obtained the emails of Hillary Clinton’s associates and passed them to WikiLeaks.
While searching for evidence of collusion was Mueller’s initial purview, the probe soon shifted to examining whether President Trump sought to obstruct the probe itself. Here, Mueller was ambiguous. While the report does not accuse Trump of obstruction, Mueller left it up to Barr to determine whether any of Trump’s acts could possibly constitute obstruction. In his letter, Barr said that the report detailed no such actions.
In light of the very concerning discrepancies and final decision making at the Justice Department following the Special Counsel report, where Mueller did not exonerate the President, we will be calling Attorney General Barr in to testify before @HouseJudiciary in the near future.
— (((Rep. Nadler))) (@RepJerryNadler) March 24, 2019
Mueller’s report is the culmination of two years of investigation. Throughout that time 19 lawyers, assisted by around 40 FBI agents and analysts, issued 2,800 subpoenas, executed nearly 500 search warrants and interviewed around 500 witnesses. In total, the probe cost a reported $25.2 million.
Likely anticipating a flop, Democrats have in recent days turned to asking Barr to make the full report public, hoping for some morsel of damning information on the president. In his letter, Barr stated that he will release as much of the report as possible, “consistent with applicable law, regulations, and Departmental policies.”
Aside from pressuring Barr to release the full report and underlying evidence –which Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said “may be even more important to the truth than the report itself”– the Democrats’ focus has now shifted to a raft of further investigations into the president.
A House Judiciary Committee investigation is currently examining in ever more excruciating detail whether Trump or his administration sought to obstruct justice or abuse power. An Oversight Committee is looking at claims that Trump had ordered ‘hush money’ payments to porn star Stormy Daniels, and a House Intelligence Committee investigation is poring over the same evidence as Mueller, again looking for the specter of ‘Russian collusion.’
Despite Mueller’s conclusion, Intelligence Committee chairman Rep. Adam Schiff (D-California) told ABC News on Sunday that he believes “compelling” and “significant evidence of collusion” still exists. While Mueller’s report vindicates Trump, Schiff’s determination to find this mysterious evidence means the “witch hunt” so often derided by Trump is far from over.
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