WASHINGTON – The long-awaited final report by Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller and his legal team was released on Thursday, about two years after the investigation started, finding primarily that there was ‘no evidence’ U.S. President Donald Trump did not commit obstruction of justice but there was no crime related to alleged collusion with the Russian state.
If there was evidence “the president clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state”, the report said, and there was no statement saying that Trump did not commit obstruction. There were potentially 11 cases of obstruction by the president.
It also found that an agreement “requires more than the two parties taking actions that were informed by or responsive to other’s actions or interests” — and so Trump allies had to agree to work with Russia for there to be collusion.
Barr released a letter to the U.S. Congress on Mar. 23 after receiving the full report from the special counsel’s office. He framed it then as a largely positive result for the White House, and Trump said the investigation was a waste of time. Barr’s interpretation that there was no direct Russian collusion with the 2016 Trump presidential campaign has held up.
Details are consistently emerging about the 448-page redacted document, collated by Mueller, which President Trump’s legal team earlier described as a “total victory” as Barr faces heavy criticism of his handling of the report’s release. The White House received early access to the report.
The report also found that the president tried to get Mueller fired, verifying a report from The New York Times in 2017. Within the report, it is revealed the president called Don McGahn, a former White House counsel, in June 2017 to try and get Mueller removed on the basis he had unspecified “conflicts of interest”.
McGahn told the special counsel he resigned after feeling “trapped because he did not plan to follow the President’s directive” and would not have known what to say to Trump if he called again.
President Trump reportedly used an expletive when the investigation was announced in mid-2017, adding: “oh my God. This is terrible. This is the end of my presidency”.
Investigators viewed the president’s written responses to their questions as “inadequate” but chose not to pursue a potentially lengthy legal battle to interview him, with the special counsel writing that it would be a drawn-out process.
Trump dictated a misleading response as to what the June 2016 meeting between Russian intermediaries and Trump campaign officials in Trump Tower was about – this had earlier been denied by Mr Trump’s lawyer and White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders
(c)Breaking911 – Eli Ridder