Trump responds to Mueller findings: ‘It’s a shame our country had to go through this’
Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s long-awaited report says President Donald Trump and his campaign did not collude with Russia in the 2016 election, but reaches no conclusion on whether he obstructed justice, a summary by Attorney General William Barr says.
“While this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him” in regards to obstruction, Barr quoted the report as saying in a letter to Congress summarizing the findings on Sunday.
Barr said the report left it to his office to determine whether further charges should be brought. He and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein determined they should not, he told Congress.
“The report identifies no actions that, in our judgment, constitutes obstructive conduct, had a nexus to a pending or contemplated proceeding, and were done with corrupt intent,” Barr’s letter reads.
Trump called it a “complete and total exoneration.”
“This was an illegal take down that failed — and hopefully somebody’s going to be looking at the other side,” the president told reporters Sunday afternoon in Florida before boarding Air Force One to return to Washington.
He added it was “a shame that our country had to go through this.”
Barr’s letter to Congress summarized Mueller’s report, which was delivered to the attorney general late Friday. Mueller’s two-year investigation probed possible Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
Rep. Jerry Nadler of New York, the top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, wrote on Twitter that the Justice Department “owes the public more than just a brief synopsis and decision not to go any further in their work.”
Nadler also called on Barr to testify before his committee, citing “very concerning discrepancies and final decision making at the Justice Department following the Special Counsel report.”
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders echoed Trump’s comments on Twitter.
Other investigations, such as counterintelligence and congressional probes of Trump and his associates, continue.
Mueller did not recommend any new indictments, Barr said in his summary.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., on Saturday called for Barr to release Mueller’s entire report to Congress rather than a summary, which she called “insufficient,” Reuters reported.
“Congress requires the full report and the underlying documents so that the Committees can proceed with their independent work, including oversight and legislating to address any issues the Mueller report may raise,” Pelosi wrote in a statement, Politico reported.
In addition, the Electronic Privacy Information Center has filed suit against the Justice Department seeking the release of the report, according to CNN.
The Mueller probe has resulted in the indictment and, in many cases, conviction of at least 34 people and three companies associated with Trump or his campaign.
They include adviser Roger Stone, former personal attorney Michael Cohen, former campaign chair Paul Manafort, former campaign official Rick Gates and former national security adviser Michael Flynn, along with a number of Russian nationals and firms.
Some, such as Manafort, have faced charges for dealings other than those directly involving Trump or his presidential campaign. Several have pleaded guilty and cooperated with the Mueller probe. A number of those cases were handed off to U.S. attorneys in New York and elsewhere for prosecution, and those investigations will continue.
In addition, Mueller’s investigation, focusing chiefly on allegations of Russian interference and White House obstruction, is only one of multiple probes into the 2016 election by Congress and other federal agencies. Numerous state investigations into Trump, his dealings and his associates also continue across the United States, particularly in New York, the New York Times reported.
Trump has frequently ridiculed the Mueller probe as a “witch hunt” and denied wrongdoing. He also has argued that indictments of various former confidants on charges other than those stemming from the 2016 campaign clear him of accusations of collusion.
Democrats and many Republicans in Congress have previously called for Mueller’s report to be made public, although Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., blocked a Senate vote on the question March 14, saying he did not oppose it but also wants earlier investigations of Hillary Clinton to be released, McClatchy reported.
Trump himself said March 20 that he doesn’t mind if the report is made public, the Washington Post reported.
“Let them see it,” he said.