Tue, 23 Jul 2019

Special counsel Robert Mueller says neither President Donald Trump, his campaign nor anyone associated with it conspired with Russia to interfere in the 2016 presidential election, according to a summary by Attorney General William Barr released Sunday.

But on the question of whether Trump tried to obstruct justice by interfering with or trying to derail the Mueller probe, Barr said, 'The report does not conclude that the president committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.'

Barr released a summary of the long-awaited report on a 22-month-long probe into allegations the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to influence the election in Trump's favor.

Barr sent his summary to Congress and released it to the public Sunday. Mueller delivered his report to the Department of Justice on Friday.

'The Special Counsel's investigation did not find that he Trump campaign or anyone associated with it coordinated ... with the Russian government in its election interference activities,' Barr's summary said.

Barr said this is what the report concluded despite what he says were 'multiple offers from Russian-affiliated individuals to assist the Trump campaign.'

According to Barr, Mueller turned over the obstruction question to him and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. Barr writes that there is not enough evidence to conclude whether Trump committed a crime by obstructing justice. He said this was not based on any belief that a sitting president cannot be indicted.

'To obtain and sustain an obstruction conviction, the government would need to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a person acting with corrupt intent engaged in obstructive conduct,' Barr wrote.

Despite Barr saying the Mueller report does not totally clear him, Trump tweeted, 'No collusion, no obstruction, complete and total exoneration. Keep American Great!'

He later told reporters that the probe was 'The most ridiculous thing I ever heard it's a shame our country had to go through this it's a shame the president had to go through this -- this was an illegal takedown that failed.'

Barr's summary noted that during the nearly 2-year-long investigation, Mueller had 19 lawyers and 40 FBI agents working with him, issued more than 2,800 subpoenas, talked to about 500 witnesses, and carried out nearly 500 search warrants.

Many members of Congress, both Democrats and Republicans, want Barr to release the full report as well as any evidence Mueller used to reach his conclusions.

They are also likely to take a look into Barr's conclusion that the Mueller report 'does not exonerate' Trump, even if the president says it does exonerate him.

'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 to testify before the House Judiciary in the near future,' Democratic Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler tweeted Sunday.

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