Trump cleared of collusion – Mueller report
The united States (US) Justice Department said yesterday that special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation did not find evidence that US President Donald Trump’s campaign “conspired or coordinated” with Russia to influence the 2016 presidential election. Mueller also investigated whether Trump obstructed justice but did not come to a definitive answer.
In a four-page letter to Congress, Attorney General William Barr quoted Mueller’s report as stating that it “does not exonerate” the president on obstruction. Instead, Barr said, it “sets out evidence on both sides of the question”.
Trump, in Florida, celebrated that the report showed that “there was no collusion”. He also claimed that it showed that there was no obstruction.
Barr released his summary of Mueller’s report yesterday afternoon. Mueller wrapped up his investigation on Friday with no new indictments, bringing to a close a probe that had shadowed Trump for nearly two years.
But the broader fight is not over.
The Justice Department summary sets up a battle between Barr and Democrats, who called for Mueller’s full report to be released and vowed to press on with their own investigation.
For Trump, Barr’s report was a victory on a key question that has hung over his presidency from the start: Did his campaign work with Russia to defeat Democrat Hillary Clinton?
Still, Mueller’s investigation left open the question of whether Trump obstructed justice by firing FBI Director James Comey and drafting an incomplete explanation about his son’s meeting with a Russian lawyer during the campaign. That left it to the attorney general to decide. After consulting with other department officials, Barr said he and his deputy, Rod Rosenstein, determined that the evidence “is not sufficient to establish that the president committed an obstruction of justice offence”.
Barr, nominated to his job by Trump last fall, said their decision was based on the evidence uncovered by Mueller and not based on whether a sitting president can be indicted.