Did Mueller find collusion?
Nope, according to the attorney general.
“The Special Counsel’s investigation did not find that the Trump campaign or anyone associated with it conspired or coordinated with Russia in its efforts to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election,” Barr wrote in a letter to Congress summarizing Mueller’s investigation.
Barr noted that this came “despite multiple offers from Russian-affiliated individuals to assist the Trump campaign.”
This was seen as a win for the president, who for years has railed against the investigation and repeatedly said there was no collusion with Russia.
“It was just announced that there was no collusion with Russia, the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard. There was no collusion, folk,” Trump said as he boarded Air Force One on the way back to Washington.
Did the president obstruct justice?
That isn’t really clear.
After years investigating, Mueller didn’t say yes or no. Instead, he offered the evidence he had to Barr.
Mueller “did not grat a conclusion — one way or the other — as to whether the examined conduct constituted obstruction,” Barr notes in his letter to Congress. He noted Mueller’s office laid out evidence “on both sides” of the question as to whether Trump committed a crime.
“The Special Counsel states that ‘while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him,'” Barr wrote, quoting from Mueller’s investigation.
Barr said after examining the investigation, departmental policies and talking with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, he decided there was not enough proof that Trump committed a crime.
“I have concluded that the evidence developed during the Special Counsel’s investigation is not sufficient to establish that the President committed an obstruction-of-justice offense,” Barr wrote.
What happens Next?
This letter tees up a massive push to have the entirety of the report released to the public.
Democrats have been very vocal in pushing for everything, including the underlying evidence, to be released. After Barr’s letter, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., said he would be calling Barr to testify before the committee in coming days.
Is this the end?
Mueller referred his investigation on Cohen’s criminal activities to federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York, who opened an inquiry into illegal hush-money payments to silence two women who claimed to have had sex with Trump. Justice Department investigators have also been examining lobbying firms tied to Manafort, and Trump’s inaugural committee.
The department hasn’t said whether Mueller’s office made any other referrals.
This one has to sting. …