Sunday, 24 March 2019

Mueller Report Found No Collusion, Obstruction; Angry Democrats Vow Continued Coup Attempts

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The special counsel’s report on the Trump campaign’s “collusion” with Russia during the 2016 campaign is in. As expected, Robert Mueller and his team found no collusion and no obstruction of justice.

Those conclusions are the nut of a four-page summary of the report that Attorney General William Barr sent to Congress Sunday.

But the hate-Trump Left and Democrats on Capitol Hill will focus on one key line in the report to suggest that Trump must be guilty of something. The report, Barr wrote, does not “exonerate” the president on the obstruction question.

The Donald claimed victory; Democrats are livid.

Barr’s Letter

The Justice Department received Mueller’s “Report on the Investigation into Russian Interference in the 2016 Presidential Election” on Friday.

Barr is still reviewing Mueller’s report, he explained in his summary to the chairman and ranking members of the House and Senate Judiciary committees, but he believes “it is in the public interest” to release its “principal conclusions.”

The report has two parts, Barr wrote, one dealing with so-called collusion, the second with obstruction of justice.

The first describes the results of the Special Counsel's investigation into Russia's interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. The report outlines the Russian effort to influence the election and documents crimes committed by persons associated with the Russian government in connection with those efforts. The report further explains that a primary consideration for the Special Counsel's investigation was whether any Americans — including individuals associated with the Trump campaign — joined the Russian conspiracies to influence the election, which would be a federal crime. 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 U.S. presidential election.

Barr quoted the report on that last note directly: The “investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.”

So much for the “collusion” the Trump-Deranged left has been squawking about since the Electoral Armageddon.

Mueller and his team found “two main Russian efforts to influence the 2016 election,” Barr wrote. The first involved “disinformation and social media operations in the United States designed to sow social discord, eventually with the aim of interfering with the election.”

But Mueller investigators did not find any American “or Trump campaign official or associate” in cahoots with the Russians “in connection with these activities.”

The second effort involved computer hacking to purloin and peddle information to affect the election. Mueller and his team found that “Russian government actors successfully hacked into computers and obtained emails from persons affiliated with the Clinton campaign and Democratic Party organizations, and publicly disseminated those materials through various intermediaries, including WikiLeaks.” And Mueller “brought criminal charges against a number of Russian military officers" for the hacking, Barr wrote.

But again, Mueller “did not find that the Trump campaign, or anyone associated with it, conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in these efforts, despite multiple offers from Russian-affiliated individuals to assist the Trump campaign.”

Nor did Mueller find evidence of a conspiracy, meaning any “agreement — tacit or express — between the Trump Campaign and the Russian government on election interference”

Which leads to the second part of the report on obstruction. Again, Mueller did not conclude that Trump obstructed justice, presumably in firing James Comey because the then-FBI director was probing the Russia business.

Rather, Barr wrote:

The report's second part addresses a number of actions by the President — most of which have been the subject of public reporting — that the Special Counsel investigated as potentially raising obstruction-of-justice concerns. After making a “thorough factual investigation” into these matters, the Special Counsel considered whether to evaluate the conduct under Department standards governing prosecution and declination decisions but ultimately determined not to make a traditional prosecutorial judgment. The Special Counsel therefore did not draw a conclusion — one way or the other — as to whether the examined conduct constituted obstruction. Instead, for each of the relevant actions investigated, the report sets out evidence on both sides of the question and leaves unresolved what the Special Counsel views as “difficult issues” of law and fact concerning whether the President's actions and intent could be viewed as obstruction.

Having reviewed Mueller’s work, Barr and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosentstein “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.”

Still, haters will focus on one line from Mueller vis-a-vis the obstruction issue: “While this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.”

Reaction

Trump, unsurprisingly, trumpeted his vindication: “No Collusion, No Obstruction, Complete and Total EXONERATION.” Spokeswoman Sarah Sanders tweeted likewise.

Representative Jerry Nadler, the New York leftist who runs the House Judiciary Committee, tweeted his intention to bring Barr before his committee, emphasizing that Mueller “did not exonerate” Trump.

Angry Democrats pointed to that line and demanded that the full report be released. Barr said he cannot release some material because the Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure forbids releasing some material.

For now, the attempt to undo the result of November 8, 2016 has stalled. But it will continue.

Photo of the attorney general's summary of Mueller's report: AP Images

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