Trump says Mueller probe was an illegal takedown that failed: 'I told you there was no collusion'
President Donald Trump, visibly joyous, returned to the White House on Sunday, hours after his campaign was cleared of allegations of Russia collusion and addressed reporters waiting for his comment, saying: "America is the greatest place on earth."
Trump, as he walked off Marine One, said: "I just want to tell you America is the greatest place on earth. The greatest place on earth."
The president and his supporters celebrated shortly after special counsel Robert Mueller submitted his report to Attorney General William Barr. According to a senior Justice Department official, Mueller did not recommend any further indictments, in an indication that there may be no more criminal charges against Trump associates pertaining to the investigation. The special counsel, so far, has brought charges against 34 people and three companies throughout the probe.
A senior Trump administration official, while talking to the Daily Mail, said that the president is thrilled with the findings of Mueller's investigation. "I haven't seen him this happy in months. It's like election night again," the official said.
President Trump, even before the details of the report has been released, boasted of a "complete exoneration" regarding Mueller's probe of possible collusion between his campaign and Russia, and slammed the entire operation as "an illegal takedown that failed." The Republican also added that he hopes "somebody is going to be looking at the other side."
Trump, before he boarded Air Force One to return to Washington DC from Florida, said: "There was no collusion with Russia, there was no obstruction and none whatsoever and it was a complete and total exoneration. It's a shame that our country had to go through this. To be honest, it's a shame that your president has had to go through this."
Trump also called the possibility of his campaign aides colluding with Russia the "most ridiculous thing I've ever heard," and claimed that the Mueller investigation was illegal.
"Before I even got elected it began. And it began illegally. ... This was an illegal takedown that failed, and hopefully, somebody is going to be looking at the other side. So a complete exoneration, no collusion, no obstruction," Trump said.
Trump, in a victory message, on Sunday: "No Collusion, No Obstruction, Complete and Total EXONERATION. KEEP AMERICA GREAT!"
The findings of the report will not be an end to the investigation surrounding the president. The submission, in fact, signals the beginning of a stage that will include rounds of congressional subpoenas and hearings as House Democrats probe how Mueller came to his findings. According to the findings, Mueller did not draw a conclusion "one way or the other" and left it for Barr to reach a conclusion.
Barr, in a joint decision between his and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, over the weekend announced that the president would not be charged in association with the probe.
Barr said that they concluded, "The investigation is not sufficient to establish that the President committed an obstruction-of-justice offense." The Attorney General, in his letter to Congress, wrote: "Our determination was made without regard to, and is not based on, the constitutional considerations that surround the indictment and criminal prosecution of a sitting president."
However, Democratic leaders in Congress were not satisfied with Barr's decision and said that he was not "neutral." The Democrats reportedly called for public release of the full report.
Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer and Speaker Nancy Pelosi released a joint statement, saying: "Attorney General Barr’s letter raises as many questions as it answers. The fact that Special Counsel Mueller’s report does not exonerate the president on a charge as serious as obstruction of justice demonstrates how urgent it is that the full report and underlying documentation be made public without any further delay. 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."
"And most obviously, for the president to say he is completely exonerated directly contradicts the words of Mr. Mueller and is not to be taken with any degree of credibility," the statement from the two leaders added.