Mueller's Russia probe report rules out criminal collusion

In a four-page letter to Congress, Attorney General William Barr quoted Mueller's report as stating it "does not exonerate" the president on obstruction.

Posted: Mar 24, 2019 3:03 PM
Updated: Mar 25, 2019 6:29 AM

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Justice Department declared Sunday that special counsel Robert Mueller's long investigation did not find evidence that President Donald Trump's campaign "conspired or coordinated" with Russia to influence the 2016 presidential election, setting off celebrations of vindication by Trump and his supporters. Mueller also investigated whether Trump obstructed justice but did not come to a definitive answer.

In a four-page letter to Congress, Attorney General William Barr quoted Mueller's report as stating it "does not exonerate" the president on obstruction. Instead, Barr said, it "sets out evidence on both sides of the question."

Trump, in Florida, said the report proved "there was no collusion" as he has contended for many months. He also claimed it showed there was no obstruction and said it was a shame that he and the nation had to suffer through "an illegal takedown that failed."

Barr released his summary of Mueller's report Sunday afternoon. Mueller wrapped up his investigation on Friday with no new indictments, bringing to a close a probe that has shadowed Trump for nearly two years.

But the broader fight is not over.

Congress' top Democrats, Chuck Schumer of New York in the Senate and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, put out a statement saying Barr's letter raises as many questions as it answers, including about his own decision not to prosecute on possible obstruction.

"Given Mr. Barr's public record of bias against the special counsel's inquiry, he is not a neutral observer and is not in a position to make objective determinations about the report," they said. Trump's claim of complete exoneration "directly contradicts the words of Mrs. Mueller and is not to be taken with any degree of credibility," they added.

The Justice Department summary sets up a battle between Barr and Democrats, who called for Mueller's full report to be released and vowed to press on with their own investigation.

For Trump, Barr's report was a victory on a key question that has hung over his presidency from the start: Did his campaign work with Russia to defeat Democrat Hillary Clinton?

Still, Mueller's investigation left open the question of whether Trump obstructed justice by firing FBI Director James Comey and drafting an incomplete explanation about his son's meeting with a Russian lawyer during the campaign. That left it to the attorney general to decide. After consulting with other department officials, Barr said he and his deputy, Rod Rosenstein, determined the evidence "is not sufficient to establish that the president committed an obstruction of justice offense."

Barr, nominated to his job by Trump last fall, said their decision was based on the evidence uncovered by Mueller and not based on whether a sitting president can be indicted.

Trump was at his Florida estate when lawmakers received the report. Barr's chief of staff called Emmet Flood, the lead White House lawyer on the investigation, to brief him on the findings shortly before he sent it to Congress.

Mueller's investigation ensnared nearly three dozen people, senior Trump campaign operatives among them. The probe illuminated Russia's assault on the American political system, painted the Trump campaign as eager to exploit the release of hacked Democratic emails to hurt Democrat Hillary Clinton and exposed lies by Trump aides aimed at covering up their Russia-related contacts.

Mueller submitted his report to Barr instead of directly to Congress and the public because, unlike independent counsels such as Ken Starr in the case of President Bill Clinton, his investigation operated under the close supervision of the Justice Department, which appointed him.

The House Judiciary Committee chairman said Congress needs to hear from Barr about his decision and see "all the underlying evidence."

Mueller "clearly and explicitly is not exonerating the president, said Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y. in a series of tweets, but Barr is telling "the American people that while the president is not exonerated, there will be no action by DOJ."

"There must be full transparency in what Special Counsel Mueller uncovered to not exonerate the President from wrongdoing. DOJ owes the public more than just a brief synopsis and decision not to go any further in their work," Nadler tweeted

Barr said that Mueller "thoroughly" investigated the question of whether the Trump campaign coordinated with Russia's election interference, issuing more than 2,800 subpoenas, obtaining nearly 500 search warrants and interviewing 500 witnesses.

However, Mueller was not able to interview Trump in person.

Barr said Mueller also catalogued the president's actions including "many" that took place in "public view," a possible nod to Trump's public attacks on investigators and witnesses.

In the letter, Barr said he concluded that none of Trump's actions constituted a federal crime that prosecutors could prove in court.

Democrats are reminding that the House voted nearly unanimously, 420-0, to release the full Mueller report, which they say is more important not than ever. "This is about transparency and truth — and a 4 page summary from Trump's AG doesn't cut it," tweeted Rep. Mark Takano, D-Ca., the chairman of the Veterans Affairs Committee. "The American people deserve to see the whole thing."

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 57162

Reported Deaths: 1660
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hennepin18197820
Ramsey7047261
Dakota4049103
Anoka3410113
Stearns284220
Washington193843
Nobles17496
Olmsted163523
Scott141017
Mower10842
Rice10028
Blue Earth8595
Wright8205
Carver7922
Clay75240
Kandiyohi6771
Sherburne6577
St. Louis45319
Todd4202
Lyon4163
Freeborn3551
Steele3331
Nicollet32013
Benton3103
Watonwan2990
Winona24916
Crow Wing21313
Martin2045
Le Sueur2021
Beltrami2000
Chisago1821
Otter Tail1793
Goodhue1778
Cottonwood1730
Becker1471
Pipestone1439
McLeod1400
Unassigned14040
Polk1353
Itasca13412
Douglas1320
Waseca1300
Pine1280
Carlton1260
Dodge1230
Murray1221
Isanti1100
Chippewa991
Brown852
Faribault840
Meeker832
Morrison821
Wabasha820
Sibley802
Rock750
Koochiching743
Pennington731
Jackson700
Mille Lacs683
Cass622
Fillmore610
Renville605
Lincoln540
Swift521
Grant511
Yellow Medicine490
Roseau460
Pope450
Houston390
Norman370
Hubbard320
Redwood320
Marshall290
Kanabec281
Wilkin283
Aitkin270
Mahnomen241
Wadena230
Big Stone220
Red Lake200
Lake180
Stevens160
Clearwater150
Traverse100
Lac qui Parle60
Kittson30
Cook20
Lake of the Woods10

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 46100

Reported Deaths: 887
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk9781203
Woodbury365651
Black Hawk302262
Linn214587
Johnson195915
Dallas179635
Buena Vista178612
Scott161512
Dubuque154929
Marshall139424
Pottawattamie122723
Story111714
Wapello85032
Muscatine83048
Webster7366
Crawford7213
Sioux6022
Cerro Gordo57917
Tama53929
Warren5341
Jasper45825
Wright4441
Plymouth4438
Louisa37814
Dickinson3754
Clinton3213
Washington28810
Hamilton2411
Boone2312
Franklin2256
Bremer1927
Clarke1883
Carroll1821
Emmet1812
Clay1711
Shelby1691
Hardin1660
Marion1550
Allamakee1504
Poweshiek1508
Benton1451
Jackson1411
Des Moines1392
Mahaska13617
Floyd1312
Guthrie1285
Jones1242
Cedar1201
Hancock1172
Butler1152
Buchanan1141
Henry1143
Pocahontas1141
Lyon1060
Madison1052
Clayton993
Cherokee981
Harrison980
Lee973
Taylor930
Humboldt921
Delaware911
Iowa901
Monona900
Winneshiek861
Mills830
Calhoun822
Fayette810
Sac810
Palo Alto800
Kossuth780
Osceola780
Jefferson770
Winnebago770
Mitchell760
Page760
Grundy741
Union721
Monroe677
Worth610
Chickasaw510
Davis501
Lucas504
Howard490
Cass481
Montgomery453
Appanoose433
Greene380
Fremont350
Van Buren331
Keokuk311
Ida290
Audubon281
Decatur220
Adair210
Ringgold211
Wayne181
Adams160
Unassigned00
Rochester
Clear
62° wxIcon
Hi: 74° Lo: 58°
Feels Like: 62°
Mason City
Clear
63° wxIcon
Hi: 74° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 63°
Albert Lea
Clear
61° wxIcon
Hi: 72° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 61°
Austin
Clear
63° wxIcon
Hi: 73° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 63°
Charles City
Clear
63° wxIcon
Hi: 74° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 63°
Rain returns for Wednesday
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Latest Video

Image

Sean's Weather 8/5

Image

A closer look a the Graham Park testing site

Image

Temporary rental assistance available in Olmsted County

Image

Gold and Silver Prices Going Up

Image

Memorial Bicycle Ride

Image

MSHSL votes to postpone football and volleyball

Image

Rochester Public Schools survey parent opinions about options

Image

Waterloo hands Rochester 13th straight loss

Image

Mason City Fire Department burn training

Image

Coronavirus impact on the 2020 census

Community Events