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

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Cases: 445047

Reported Deaths: 5955
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin924911470
Ramsey39703735
Dakota32788331
Anoka30811360
Washington20004225
Stearns17775185
St. Louis13546240
Scott1189996
Wright11548102
Olmsted1035775
Sherburne815765
Carver691436
Clay648478
Rice600166
Kandiyohi552871
Blue Earth538033
Crow Wing479673
Otter Tail453464
Chisago449732
Benton416785
Winona386246
Douglas372466
Nobles366746
Mower362328
Goodhue343657
Polk327756
McLeod323144
Morrison310043
Beltrami308746
Lyon299835
Itasca282643
Becker281738
Isanti281141
Carlton278143
Steele27119
Pine265113
Freeborn241320
Todd230929
Nicollet223336
Brown213734
Mille Lacs212845
Le Sueur208515
Cass206123
Meeker198533
Waseca188816
Martin169126
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Roseau165316
Hubbard148338
Redwood139227
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Houston135313
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Chippewa130832
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Fillmore12215
Wadena119416
Rock109512
Sibley10797
Aitkin107133
Watonwan10618
Faribault104615
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Kanabec97218
Pipestone93823
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Murray8655
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Swift83018
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Stevens6978
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Lac qui Parle65616
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Lincoln4821
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Unassigned43468
Grant4257
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Mahnomen4087
Kittson37019
Red Lake3164
Traverse2473
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Cook1130

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 303065

Reported Deaths: 4267
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk45335447
Linn17673274
Scott15356163
Black Hawk13648236
Woodbury12945175
Johnson1202149
Dubuque11300149
Pottawattamie8934112
Dallas881171
Story863434
Webster467471
Cerro Gordo462968
Sioux453356
Clinton448361
Warren437538
Marshall425561
Buena Vista391529
Muscatine386177
Des Moines380641
Plymouth348868
Wapello340898
Jasper319658
Lee313530
Marion301752
Jones269649
Henry263230
Carroll253034
Bremer242048
Crawford228122
Boone216217
Washington214231
Benton208544
Jackson190831
Mahaska190736
Tama185657
Dickinson184226
Delaware172236
Kossuth170543
Clay166019
Wright162724
Fayette159522
Buchanan158023
Hamilton157829
Winneshiek154819
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Hardin153929
Cedar151419
Clayton150748
Butler146424
Page143715
Cherokee138127
Floyd137936
Mills136016
Lyon133632
Poweshiek132324
Hancock128824
Allamakee126827
Iowa122822
Calhoun12209
Grundy120026
Jefferson119524
Madison11869
Winnebago118229
Mitchell115634
Louisa114130
Cass112541
Chickasaw110512
Emmet110231
Sac110215
Appanoose109638
Union108122
Humboldt104219
Guthrie102224
Shelby101326
Franklin101218
Unassigned9210
Palo Alto9019
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Montgomery84022
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Monroe80518
Clarke7817
Pocahontas77211
Ida73830
Greene6887
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Adair68620
Lucas6468
Osceola6349
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