Mueller submitted his report to Barr on Friday, at which point Barr promised to transmit the probe’s “principal conclusions” to Congress as soon as this weekend. What followed was a maelstrom of furious speculation and reporting on a report that no one had any actual reporting on.
But on Sunday, Barr made good on his promise. In a four-page letter to Congress, Barr said, in part, that while the Mueller report “does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.”
Barr’s summary includes two “principal conclusions,” one of which involves the Trump campaign and conspiracy with Russia:
The Special Counsel 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. Based on these activities, the Special Counsel brought criminal charges against a number of Russian military officers for conspiring to hack into computers in the United States for purposes of influencing the election. But as noted above, the Special Counsel 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.
On the issue of obstruction of Justice, Barr says that Mueller left that question entirely up to the attorney general:
Obstruction of Justice. 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. The Special Counsel states that “while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.”
The Special Counsel’s decision to describe the facts of his obstruction investigation without reaching any legal conclusions leaves it to the Attorney General to determine whether the conduct described in the report constitutes a crime.
Barr goes on to say that he and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein determined that Trump did not commit criminal obstruction of justice.
[Image via Getty Images]
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