Attorney General William Barr on Thursday released a redacted version of the long-awaited report into allegations that Donald Trump’s presidential campaign colluded with Russia to win the 2016 election.
The release of the report came nearly two years after Mueller was appointed by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, in his role as acting attorney general for matters related to the 2016 campaign due to the recusal of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, to investigate any connection between Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and Russian interference in the 2016 campaign.
Here are the key findings of the report:
- The report found no evidence that anyone on Trump’s campaign knowingly cooperated with the Russians to influence the campaign.
- When then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions told Trump that Mueller had been appointed special counsel, a note taker for Sessions wrote that Trump slumped back in his chair and said, “Oh, my God. This is terrible. This is the end of my Presidency. I’m f--ked.”
- Mueller examined 10 actions taken by Trump as president to determine whether he sought to obstruct justice. Muller says he could not reach a conclusion “based on the facts and the applicable legal standards.” The report said: “While the investigation identified numerous links between individuals with ties to the Russian government and individuals associated with the Trump Campaign, the evidence was not sufficient to support criminal charges. Among other things, the evidence was not sufficient to charge any Campaign official as an unregistered agent of the Russian government or other Russian principal. And our evidence about the June 9, 2016 meeting and WikiLeaks’ release of hacked materials was not sufficient to charge a criminal campaign-finance violation,” the report said.
- Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election in “sweeping and systematic fashion.”
- WikiLeaks asked Donald Trump Jr. to tweet a link in order to help them with “digging through leaked emails” from the Democratic National Committee. Trump Jr. tweeted the link two days later. “Some evidence” showed Trump knew about former national security adviser Michael Flynn’s calls with the Russian ambassador. The evidence was “inconclusive,” the report said.
- Mueller worried that if he subpoenaed Trump to answer questions in person it would create a substantial delay in the investigation. Mueller considered Trump’s written answers “inadequate,” but decided against a subpoena fight.
- The special counsel consulted with the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel on the prospect of indicting a sitting president when making a determination about whether Trump obstructed justice.
- Trump wanted former White House counsel Don McGahn to tell Rod Rosenstein to have Mueller removed from the investigation. McGahn did not carry out that request. McGahn decided “that he would resign rather than trigger what he regarded as a potential Saturday Night Massacre.”
- Mueller referred 14 separate investigations to other prosecutors. Those investigations that came out of his investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election.
- Mueller said there was ample evidence of contacts between the Trump campaign and Russia as it engaged in hacking campaigns. The evidence, Mueller said, was not strong enough to support bringing criminal charges.
- For Mueller to find evidence of collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign, the Trump campaign would have had to agree to act, the report points out. There was no evidence Trump’s campaign conspired to work with the Russians.
- Trump probably fired FBI Director James Comey for refusing to clear Trump’s name.
- Trump told aides not to publicly disclose any information about Donald Trump Jr.’s meeting with a Russian lawyer.
- Trump called then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions at home and again asked him to reverse his recusal from the Russia investigation.
- Former national security advisor Michael Flynn’s lawyer refused to share information about what he had told the special counsel’s team. The president’s lawyer said he would tell the president of Flynn’s "hostility."
- Trump wanted K.T. McFarland, the deputy national security adviser, to draft a letter stating that he did not direct Flynn to talk with the Russian ambassador to the U.S. McFarland did not draft the letter because she wasn’t sure if the president was telling her the truth.
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