Democratic members of Congress are criticizing Attorney General William Barr for holding a press conference before the release of the report. They are also calling for the release of the full report.
Special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into possible obstruction of justice could not clear President Donald Trump, stating the President’s actions and intent “presents difficult issues that prevent us from conclusively determining that no criminal conduct occurred,” according to a redacted version of the special counsel’s report released Thursday.
The special counsel’s investigation into possible collusion found that members of the Trump campaign knew they would benefit from Russia’s illegal actions to influence the election, but didn’t take criminal steps to help, the Mueller report said.
Mueller also makes clear Congress can continue to investigate Trump.
“With respect to whether the President can be found to have obstructed justice by exercising his powers under Article II of the Constitution, we concluded that Congress has the authority to prohibit a President’s corrupt use of his authority in order to protect the integrity of the administration of justice.”
Attorney General William Barr released the report after holding a press conference where he defended his conclusion there wasn’t sufficient evidence to prosecute an obstruction case.
“After nearly two years of investigation, thousands of subpoenas, and hundreds of warrants and witness interviews, the special counsel confirmed that the Russian government sponsored efforts to illegally interfere with the 2016 presidential election, but did not find that the Trump campaign or other Americans colluded in those schemes,” Barr said.
On the collusion investigation, Mueller specifically stated Trump’s presidential campaign “showed interest” in WikiLeaks’ releases of emails that the Russians stole from the Democrats to hurt his 2016 opponent Hillary Clinton.
“Although the investigation established that the Russian government perceived it would benefit from a Trump presidency and worked to secure that outcome, and that the campaign expected it would benefit electorally from information stolen and released through Russian efforts, the investigation did not establish that members of the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in the election interference activities,” the report said.
10 episodes of potential obstruction by Trump
Mueller’s investigation examined 10 episodes involving the President and potential obstruction of justice, Barr said.
Mueller did not make a “traditional prosecutorial judgment” on the obstruction question, Barr said. Instead, Barr said he concluded the evidence was “not sufficient to establish that the President committed an obstruction-of-justice offense.”
“The President took no act that in fact deprived the special counsel of the documents and witnesses necessary to complete his investigation,” Barr said.
“Apart from whether the acts were obstructive, this evidence of non-corrupt motives weighs heavily against any allegation that the President had a corrupt intent to obstruct the investigation,” he added.
Barr said the President’s lawyers were permitted to read the redacted version of the report, but the President would not assert executive privilege.
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