Attorney-general William Barr, a Trump ally handpicked by the president, made the conclusion in a four-page letter to Congress following the conclusion of the FBI special counsel’s 22-month investigation, but was forced to concede: “While this report does not conclude that the president committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.”
“A number of actions” carried out by Mr Trump could raise obstruction of justice concerns, Mr Mueller had written. Mr Barr said he and his deputy, Rod Rosenstein, have since decided these actions did not reveal “corrupt intent”.
A jubilant Mr Trump was quick to hail the verdict as a “total exoneration”, repeating his long-running attack on the “witch hunt” as “an illegal takedown that failed” while Democrats called for the Mueller report’s full release, “not just the in-house summary from a Trump administration official”
CNN’s chief media correspondent Brian Stelter has these warnings on the probable next moves of the Trump camp in response to William Barr’s verdict on the Mueller report.
This somewhat cod-poetic response from ex-FBI director James Comey, whose firing by President Trump in May 2017 started this whole affair, is certainly among the oddest reactions to yesterday’s news.
This is absolutely begging to become a meme.
William Barr only assumed office on 14 February and 2020 Democratic presidential hopeful Cory Booker expressed his party’s doubts about the man’s impartiality as well as anyone yesterday.
Here’s a profile of the new US attorney-general with the eyes of the world on him. He’s a keen amateur bagpiper, FYI.
House Judiciary Committee chairman Jerrold Nadler meanwhile called for Mr Barr to appear before Congress to testify on Justice Department decision-making regarding the “very concerning discrepancies” between Mr Mueller’s report and the attorney-general’s interpretation of it.
Senior Democrats Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer meanwhile called for the full release of the Mueller report.
At the White House, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders issued the following statement:
And here’s the president’s social media director and former teenage golf caddy Dan Scavino:
President Trump was of course jubilant at the news, interrupting a quiet weekend of golf at Mar-a-Lago with Kid Rock (no, really) to tweet:
He later told reporters: “This was an illegal takedown that failed. And hopefully, somebody’s going to be looking at the other side.”
His lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, later agreed: “This is a complete and total vindication of the president.”
Both men are apparently choosing to ignore the “not an exoneration”/obstruction of justice angle then.
Here’s Samuel Osborne.
Well, there’s only one place to start: US attorney-general William Barr’s assessment of the Mueller report, filed on Friday afternoon.
FBI special counsel Robert Mueller has concluded there is no direct evidence that collusion or conspiracy took place between the Trump campaign and Russia’s government to influence the 2016 presidential election but stopped short of deciding whether Donald Trump had obstructed justice, according to Mr Barr’s four-page summary of the report submitted to Congress on Sunday.
Mr Mueller and his team did not find any direct link between the campaign and the multiple strategies the Kremlin employed to influence the outcome of the November 2016 race.
“The investigation did not establish that members of the Trump campaign conspired or co-ordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities,” Mr Barr quoted the report as saying.
“While this report does not conclude that the president committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him”, Mr Mueller said, alluding to “a number of actions” carried out by Mr Trump that could raise obstruction of justice concerns.
Mr Barr and his deputy, Rod Rosenstein, have since concluded these actions do not reveal “corrupt intent”.
Here’s Clark Mindock’s write-up.
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