Since the investigation ended, Trump has declared “complete and total exoneration,” relying on a summary by Sessions’s replacement, Attorney General William Barr. Barr said that the probe found no conspiracy and that Mueller drew no conclusions about whether Trump’s actions constituted obstruction of justice, on which Barr decided not to pursue charges. But Trump’s reaction is one of 10 cases included in the report that were examined as possible interference in Mueller’s investigation.
Robert Mueller’s redacted special counsel report into Donald Trump and Russian election interference was finally published Thursday saying Congress could find Trump guilty of obstructing justice – an hour after attorney general Bill Barr said he had cleared the president personally of the crime.
The 448-page document was littered with redactions but crucially says that the special counsel did not clear Trump, saying: ‘If we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the President clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would state so.
‘Based on the facts and applicable legal standards, however, we are unable to reach that judgment. Accordingly, while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.’
Mueller says: ‘The conclusion that Congress may apply the obstruction laws to the President’s corrupt exercise of the powers of office accords with our constitutional system of checks and balances and the principle that no person is above the law.’
That judgment will be seized on by Democrats already furious that Barr used a press conference to announce the findings of the report before it had been seen by Congress or the public – but after it had been given to Trump’s personal attorneys to review.
A triumphant Trump tweeted a Game of Thrones meme saying ‘Game Over’ and speaking at the White House said: ‘I’m having a good day.’
That day started just after 9.30am when Barr said that the weight of evidence in the Mueller report shows President Donald Trump did not obstruct justice – as he explained Trump’s conduct as the actions of an ‘understandably frustrated’ president who was acting out of a belief that the probe was undermining his tenure.
But the report contains huge amounts of evidence which will be used to question Barr’s judgment.
It is divided into two volumes: 207 pages on collusion, the other 241 on obstruction.
It paints a picture of an angry Trump who went outside official channels, voicing rage at the Russia investigation from the beginning of his presidency.
When Mueller was appointed, he ranted: ‘I’m f***ed. This is the end of my presidency.’
The account – released to Congress on CD-Roms and to the public in a PDF document which could not be searched – will be mined for evidence by Trump’s enemies but it is its legal judgments which will be used by Democrats in Congress to challenge Barr.
The report is stocked with revelations about Trump associates, foreign contacts, Oval Office meetings, lies to and by staff, and defiance, plus a new stream of information from Moscow.
The report paints a damning portrait of the president, who is quoted saying ‘I’m f*****’ after Mueller is first appointed, and on several occasions asks senior staff to put out information they consider untrue.
- It reveals multiple examples of Russians seeking to establish contact with Trump family members and campaign officials.
- It spells out a Russian troll farm’s efforts to successfully hack Democratic emails, place Facebook ads and even plan pro-Trump rallies.
- It says Russian contacts consisted of offers of assistance to the Trump campaign, invitations for Trump-Putin meetings, invites for campaign staff, and policy positions.
- National Security Advisor Mike Flynn is revealed to have said Trump ‘repeatedly’ made requests to find Hillary Clinton’s deleted emails.
- It describes efforts by Trump to keep Cohen close following an FBI raid on Cohen’s home and office. Trump called to ‘check in’ and urged him to ‘stay strong.’ An intermediary told Cohen ‘he loves you.’
- According to Manafort Deputy Rick Gates, ‘By the late summer of 2016, the Trump Campaign was planning a press strategy, a communications cam and messaging based on the possible release of Clinton emails by WikiLeaks.’
- The report outlines ‘direct communications Donald Trump Jr. had with WikiLeaks during the campaign period.
- After he was charged, Manafort told Gates that he had spoken to Trump’s counsel and they said they’re ‘going to take care of us.’ Manafort told Gates it was ‘stupid’ to plead guilty, said he had been in touch with Trump’s personal counsel and they should ‘sit tight.’
- It also cites public statements by Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani mentioning a pardon for Manafort.
- It reveals Trump called the appointment of Mueller ‘the end of his presidency’ and demanded that former Attorney General Jeff Sessions resign for bringing it about. When Sessions did, Trump didn’t accept it.
- On the Trump Tower meeting, the report says Trump on ‘several occasions’ directed aides not to disclose emails about it, suggesting they might leak. He then edited a press statement to delete a line that acknowledged the meeting was with ‘an individual who [Trump Jr.] was told might have information helpful to the campaign.’ That line would have been true, since the meeting was set up with the promise of dirt on Hillary Clinton.
- The report contains a new revelation about the claim described in the dossier that the Russians had compromising material on Trump. It says a member of the Crocus Group, a Moscow real estate firm, reached out to Cohen in October 2016 to discuss ‘tapes’ the Russians claimed to have on Trump. The businessman wrote Cohen that he had ‘Stopped flow of tapes from Russia.’
- Prosecutors cleared Donald Trump Jr. and Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner of committing a crime with the infamous Trump Tower meeting with Russians, in part because they did not know the law. The spread of dirt on Hillary Clinton might not have been illegal.
- White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders admitted she made up information when she told the press she had communicated with ‘countless’ FBI agents contacted the White House to criticize James Comey. She told Mueller’s investigators the remark was ‘not founded on anything.’
- A section on the Comey firing says Trump ‘had a motive to put the FBI’s Russia investigation behind him.’ Although the report did not find a conspiracy with Russia, ‘the evidence does indicate that a thorough FBI investigation would uncover facts about the campaign and the President personally that the President could have understood to be crimes or that would give rise to personal and political concerns.’
- The report details efforts by Moscow-born Felix Sater to line up Michael Cohen’s participation in an economic forum in Russia.
- It provides new details on the president’s direction to Don McGahn to fire Mueller telling him, ‘You gotta do this. You gotta call Rod [Rosenstein]. He drove to the White House on a Saturday to pack his belongings and leave a resignation letter.