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Here's What You Need to Know About the Mueller Report, and Why More Drama Is on the Way

04-19-2019
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Attorney General Bill Barr, Special Counsel Bob Mueller, and President Donald Trump (AP Photos)

WHITE HOUSE – Here's the 400-page Mueller report in a nutshell: 10 instances of *potential* obstruction were investigated, and no collusion was discovered with Russia. Attorney General Bill Barr and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein both concluded the president did not commit any crimes. 

The White House is describing the special counsel's report as a total victory for the president. They say it's the exoneration they've predicted from the start. "It's called no collusion, no obstruction," Trump said.

But Democrats were already pushing back before the full report was even released. And now they see the report as a treasure trove to help launch future congressional investigations.

On Friday, House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler issued a subpoena demanding to see the full Mueller report without any redactions. President Trump retweeted contradictory statements by Nadler over the years, comparing his past protection of Bill Clinton to his behavior in the Trump investigation.

After Barr released the report Thursday, Trump took a presidential victory lap on Twitter, declaring "game over."

He released videos designed to tell the mainstream media - he told them so. "No collusion, there was no collusion, no collusion, no collusion, there is absolutely no collusion," one video says.

Speaking at a wounded warriors event, the president said, "This should never happen to another president again, this hoax."

Now on offense, the president's legal team calls the investigation politically motivated "abuse" launched by former FBI Director James Comey.

Trump attorney Jay Sekulow said on CBN News' Faith Nation, "It'll be very interesting to see what happens in the days ahead, but I think we played by the law and the law is clear and we are going to insist on the law being followed and that means whether it's at the House or the Senate and in any case if there's an issue that we think is worthy to litigate, we will litigate it."

The Mueller report states that it "…does not conclude the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him." But Sekulow pointed out that special counsels do not have the power convict or exonerate anyone in the first place.

Still, Barr was forthcoming about the investigation, explaining, "The report recounts 10 episodes involving the president and discusses potential legal theories for connecting those activities to the elements of an obstruction offense."

Those ten episodes – recounted in the partially redacted release – range from President Trump's perceived efforts to seize control of the Russia investigation to the president's endeavors to force the special counsel's removal, which were "mostly unsuccessful… because the persons who surrounded the President declined to carry out orders."

Barr said, "President Trump faced an unprecedented situation."

The weight of that unprecedented cloud was revealed in the release, with the president cursing, stating "this is the end of my presidency" when he learned about the appointment of Special Counsel Robert Mueller. 

"The president was frustrated and angered by a sincere belief that the investigation was undermining his presidency," Barr said.

Detailed in the report – the Russian intelligence hacking campaign and Russian effort to sow social discord through disinformation and social media operations.

Barr said it's clear that "the Russian government sought to interfere in our election process."

But any links between the Trump campaign and Russia were deemed insufficient evidence to bring charges. While Russians did try to contact and influence the Trump team, the report found no evidence of success. 

"The Russian operatives who participated in these schemes did not have the cooperation of the Trump campaign," Barr explained.

The redacted report was shared directly with the White House attorneys before its release since their client was the subject of the report.

"No one outside the department has seen the unredacted report with the exception of certain sections that were made available to IC, the Intel Committee for their advice on protecting intel sources and methods," Barr explained.

The White House did not choose to use executive privilege to issue any further redactions than what had already been removed from the report by the DOJ. 

Barr said, "Given the limited nature of the redactions, I believe that the publicly released report will allow every American to understand the results."

Some lawmakers with security clearances will get an expanded version without as many redactions. "These members of Congress will be able to see all of the redacted material for themselves with a limited exception," Barr said.

Capping off the DOJ's release, an answer from Barr reveals more drama still ahead. "I have no objection to Bob Mueller personally testifying," Barr told reporters. With congressional Democrats unsatisfied with the release of the report, that Mueller testimony seems quite likely.

Here at the White House, officials feel confident. After two years, hundreds of interviews, subpoenas and search warrants, officials say it's highly unlikely Congress could uncover something the special counsel did not.
 

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