On Sunday afternoon, Attorney General William Barr sent House and Senate Judiciary Committee leadership a summary of principal findings from the report Special Counsel Robert Mueller submitted to the Department of Justice on Friday on their 22-month-long investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 elections
Barr noted that Mueller had 19 attorneys working for him and had the assistance of approximately 40 FBI agents. During his investigation, Mueller issued more than 2800 subpoenas, executed nearly 500 search warrants, and interviewed approximately 500 witnesses.
The attorney general confirmed that Mueller recommended no additional indictments and that there were no sealed indictments not yet made public.
Mueller revealed two primary findings:
1. The Trump Campaign did not collude or coordinate with Russia.
“The Special Counsel’s investigation did not find that the Trump campaign or anyone associated with it conspired or coordinated with Russia in its efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election. As the report states, ‘(T)he investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities,'” Mueller wrote.
Barr noted that report stated that Russia attempted to influence the 2016 election in two primary ways:
- A disinformation campaign primarily through social media instigated by Russia’s Internet Research Agency.
- Computer hacking efforts leading to the release of Democratic National Committee and Clinton Campaign emails through various intermediaries including Wikileaks.
Barr stated that Mueller noted that no one from the Trump campaign was involved in either of those efforts.
2. Mueller did not draw a conclusion whether President Trump obstructed justice.
Regarding the investigation into whether Trump obstructed the Russia investigation, Barr said Mueller stated that “while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it does not exonerate him.”
He said the report lays out the evidence related to that question and leaves the decision to the Attorney General.
Barr wrote, “Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and I have concluded that the evidence developed during the Special Counsel’s investigation is not sufficient to establish that the President committed an obstruction of justice offense.”
He noted that the decision was not based on Trump’s position as sitting president, but on the actions, many of which were public, in light of what is required to prove obstruction and to do so beyond a reasonable doubt.
Release the report?
Barr said that the review of the report continues in light of the Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure that forbids the release of information related to matters that may still be before a grand jury. He said once that review is released he will be in a position to “move forward expeditiously in determining what can be released in light of applicable law, regulations, and Department policies.”
Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, claims the report vindicated the president.
“I have just received topline findings from Attorney General Barr. Good day for the rule of law. Great day for President Trump and his team. No collusion and no obstruction. The cloud hanging over President Trump has been removed by this report,” Graham said in a released statement. “Bad day for those hoping the Mueller investigation would take President Trump down.”
“Great job by Mr. Mueller and his team to thoroughly examine all things Russia. Now it is time to move on, govern the country, and get ready to combat Russia and other foreign actors ahead of 2020,” he added.
Democrat Congressman Jerry Nadler of New York, chairman for the House Judiciary Committee, noted that while Mueller did not exonerate him either.
“Barr says that the President may have acted to obstruct justice, but that for an obstruction conviction, ‘the government would need to proved (sic) beyond a reasonable doubt that a person, acting with corrupt intent, engaged in obstructive conduct,'” he tweeted on Sunday afternoon.
“But Special Counsel Mueller clearly and explicitly is not exonerating the President, and we must hear from AG Barr about his decision making and see all the underlying evidence for the American people to know all the facts. 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 added in two follow-up tweets.
Republican Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa, former chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said Mueller’s findings match what his own review found.
“The principal finding from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation confirms what my own review found: there was no collusion between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin to influence the presidential election. These findings were reached after significant efforts to thoroughly and fully uncover the facts by a team of professional investigators,” he said.
“I look forward to reviewing more details about the steps Robert Mueller’s team took at taxpayer expense to reach these conclusions. In the meantime, this should serve as an opportunity for those who have engaged in baseless, irresponsible speculation the past few years simply because they do not like the President to reflect on how they have contributed to Putin’s goal of undermining American faith in our system of government. For the good of our nation, I hope that we all can accept the Justice Department’s findings and move forward,” Grassley added.
Republican Senator Joni Ernst of Iowa, a new member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, wants as much of the report released as possible.
“After this nearly two-year investigation, the Special Counsel has concluded that there was no collusion or coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia to influence the 2016 presidential election. It’s time to move on and focus on preventing any more involvement or influence by Russia in our elections, which is vital to protecting our democracy and our nation’s security.
“I strongly believe that as much of the report that can be made public should be—barring any national security threat. Taxpayers have paid millions for this investigation; it’s only right that they see its findings,” she said in a released statement on Sunday.
Read Barr’s summary below: