Special counsel Robert Mueller found no evidence of collusion between President Donald Trump and Russia, according to attorney general William Barr.
Wochit, USA TODAY
After two years of divisive speculation, rancorous rhetoric and competing conspiracy theories over what went down in the 2016 election, Attorney General William Barr on Sunday shared the first details from special counsel Robert Mueller’s exhaustive investigation into Russian interference.
In a four-page letter addressed to the top Democrats and Republicans on both the House and Senate Judiciary Committees, Barr summarized the findings from Mueller’s “confidential report” that the special counsel submitted on Friday. Barr cautioned that his “review is ongoing” but he said he felt it was “in the public interest” to share an outline of Mueller’s conclusions sooner rather than later.
Here are the highlights from Barr’s summary after his “initial review” of Mueller’s report:
No evidence of collusion
One of Mueller’s primary tasks was to determine if anyone from Donald Trump’s presidential campaign cooperated with the Russian government’s known efforts to influence the election.
According to Barr, Mueller’s report clearly states that the special counsel’s “investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.”
‘Multiple offers’ from Russians to assist Trump
Barr said that Mueller identified two main tracks in Russia’s interference in the 2016 election: sowing social media discord and hacking Democrats’ emails.
According to Barr, Mueller found no evidence that “the Trump campaign, or anyone associated with it, conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in these efforts, despite multiple offers from Russian-affiliated individuals to assist the Trump campaign.”
In June 2016, several top Trump campaign officials, including Donald Trump Jr., met at Trump Tower with Russians offering “dirt” on Hillary Clinton. But Barr’s letter does not say if that meeting was considered one of the “multiple offers” of Russian assistance nor does it detail the other offers to help.
Mueller less clear on whether Trump obstructed justice
From his firing of FBI Director James Comey to his tweets attacking the special counsel, many of Trump’s critics have accused him of obstruction of justice in the election meddling investigation.
Barr said that Mueller found “evidence on both sides of the question” of whether or not Trump obstructed justice, but, in the end, he “did not draw a conclusion – one way or the other.”
“While this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him,” Barr wrote of Mueller’s report.
Barr decided not enough evidence to charge Trump
Barr said that after reviewing Mueller’s report and consulting with other Justice Department officials, he and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein determined the evidence “is not sufficient to establish an obstruction-of-justice offense.” He said they made that determination using the same criteria they would with someone who was not a sitting president.
Barr added that if Trump did not conspire with Russians to interfere in the election, it is more difficult to believe that his acts were done with the intention of obstructing the investigation.
We may never see the full report
Barr said he is “mindful of the public interest” in Mueller’s investigation and that he plans to “release as much of the Special Counsel’s report as I can.” But he said the report includes material that can’t be made public under the laws governing grand jury testimony.
He said the Justice Department must determine what parts of the report must be kept sealed before he can determine what can be released.
No sealed indictments, but Mueller did refer cases
Some Trump critics had hoped Mueller might set indictments against Trump that would not be unsealed until after he had left office and would be subject to prosecution as a private citizen. But Barr said Mueller did not “obtain any sealed indictments that have yet to be made public.”
Without offering specifics, Barr did say that Mueller “referred several matters to other offices for further action.”
Read or Share this story: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2019/03/24/mueller-report-six-takeaways-ag-william-barr-summary-russia-investigation/3262691002/