Trump 'did not collude with Russia' to sway the 2016 presidential election, Mueller report says

The special counsel "does not exonerate" Trump of obstructing justice, Barr said, and his report "sets out evidence on both sides of the question."


                            Trump 'did not collude with Russia' to sway the 2016 presidential election, Mueller report says

By Eric Tucker, Michael Balsamo, Chad Day and Julie Pace

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Justice Department said Sunday that special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation did not find evidence that President Donald Trump's campaign "conspired or coordinated" with Russia to influence the 2016 presidential election.

Mueller also investigated whether Trump obstructed justice but did not come to a definitive answer, Attorney General William Barr said in a letter to Congress summarizing Mueller's report.

The special counsel "does not exonerate" Trump of obstructing justice, Barr said, and his report "sets out evidence on both sides of the question."

 Donald Trump prior to his departure from the White House March 22, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
 Donald Trump prior to his departure from the White House March 22, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

After consulting with other Justice Department officials, Barr said he and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein determined the evidence "is not sufficient to establish that the president committed an obstruction of justice offense."

Barr released a four-page 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.

Attorney General William Barr released a four-page summary of Mueller's report Sunday afternoon (Getty Images)
Attorney General William Barr released a four-page summary of Mueller's report Sunday afternoon (Getty Images)

 

Barr's chief of staff called White House counsel Emmet Flood at 3 p.m. Sunday to brief him on the report to Congress. Trump was at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, about to return to Washington after spending the weekend there.

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 found no evidence that Russia meddled in the 2016 election to help Trump defeat his Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton (Getty Images)
Mueller found no evidence that Russia meddled in the 2016 election to help Trump defeat his Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton (Getty Images)

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.

Mueller was assigned to the job in May 2017 by Rosenstein, who oversaw much of his work. Barr and Rosenstein analyzed Mueller's report on Saturday, laboring to condense it into a summary letter of main conclusions.

An entrance to the House Judiciary Committee inside the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill, March 24, 2019 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
An entrance to the House Judiciary Committee inside the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill, March 24, 2019 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

White House officials are celebrating the release of the Justice Department's summary of Mueller's findings that he "did not establish" that the Trump campaign colluded with the Russian government.

The White House claims the Justice Department letter summarizing special counsel Robert Mueller's report is a "complete exoneration" of Trump.

In a statement, press secretary Sarah Sanders says Mueller "did not find any collusion and did not find any obstruction."

Director of Oval Office operations Madeleine Westerhout adds on Twitter: "How many tens of millions of dollars did the American taxpayers have to pay to find out what everyone already knew."

Eric Trump, the president's son, is calling for a "simple apology" from the media for "the hell everyone has been put through" during the two-year probe.