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Mueller Finds No Trump-Russia Coordination, But “Does Not Exonerate” Trump of Obstruction of Justice

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There was no collusion. That was the key finding of special counsel Robert Mueller’s long-awaited report into whether President Trump and members of his campaign conspired with the Russian government to win the 2016 election. While the full report on Mueller’s 22-month investigation has not yet been made public, Attorney General William Barr sent a four-page letter to congressional leaders on Sunday laying out his interpretation of Mueller’s findings. Barr wrote that the report concluded Russia meddled in the 2016 election but that “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.” Mueller also examined whether Trump could be criminally charged for obstructing justice, but he did not come to a definitive conclusion. Barr quoted a passage from the Mueller report saying that “while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.” In his letter Barr–who became attorney general just last month– announced that he and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein had concluded there is not enough sufficient evidence to “establish that the President committed an obstruction-of-justice offense.”

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This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: No collusion. That’s the key finding of special counsel Robert Mueller’s long-awaited report into whether President Trump and members of his campaign conspired with the Russian government to win the 2016 election. While the full report on Mueller’s 22-month investigation has not yet been made public, Attorney General William Barr sent a four-page letter to congressional leaders Sunday laying out his interpretation of Mueller’s findings. Barr wrote the report concluded Russia meddled in the 2016 election, but that, quote, “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,” unquote.

Mueller also examined whether Trump could be criminally charged for obstructing justice, but he did not come to a definitive conclusion. Barr quoted a passage from the Mueller report, saying, quote, “[W]hile this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.” In his letter, Barr—who became attorney general just last month—announced he and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein had concluded there’s not enough sufficient evidence to, quote, “establish that the President committed an obstruction-of-justice offense,” unquote.

President Trump responded to Barr’s letter by tweeting, “No Collusion, No Obstruction, Complete and Total EXONERATION. KEEP AMERICA GREAT!” Trump later briefly spoke to the press.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: So, after a long look, after a long investigation, after so many people have been so badly hurt, after not looking at the other side, where a lot of bad things happened, a lot of horrible things happened, a lot of very bad things happened for our country, it was just announced there was no collusion with Russia, the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard. There was no collusion with Russia. There was no obstruction, and none whatsoever. And it was a complete and total exoneration.

AMY GOODMAN: Democratic leaders on Capitol Hill are calling on Attorney General [William] Barr to release the full Mueller report, as well as underlying documentation. Many Democrats criticized Barr for taking just 48 hours to conclude Trump had not committed obstruction of justice. This is New York Congressmember Jerrold Nadler, the chair of the House Judiciary Committee.

REP. JERROLD NADLER: First, President Trump is wrong. This report does not amount to a so-called total exoneration. Special counsel Mueller was clear that his report, quote, “does not exonerate,” close-quote, the president. The special counsel spent 22 months uncovering evidence of obstruction and other misconduct. Attorney General Barr, who auditioned for his role with an open memorandum suggesting that the obstruction investigation was unconscionable and that a president—and that it was almost impossible for any president to commit obstruction of justice since he is the head of the executive branch, made a decision about that evidence in under 48 hours. His conclusions raise more questions than they answer, given the fact that Mueller uncovered evidence that, in his own words, “does not exonerate” the president. It is unconscionable that President Trump would try to spin the special counsel’s findings as if his conduct was remotely acceptable.

AMY GOODMAN: In his report, special counsel Robert Mueller also recommended no further indictments in the Russia investigation. Over the past 22 months, Mueller secured seven guilty pleas or convictions of Trump associates, including his former campaign manager Paul Manafort, former national security adviser Mike Flynn and Trump’s former personal attorney Michael Cohen. Mueller also indicted 13 Russians tied to the Internet Research Agency for meddling in the 2016 election and 12 Russian military intelligence officers for allegedly hacking into the computer systems of the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton presidential campaign.

While the Mueller probe is now over, Trump and his associates still face a number of investigations, including ones led by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of New York, the attorney general of New York and congressional Democrats.

To talk more about the Mueller report, we’ll be joined by two guests after break, two Pulitzer Prize-winning reporters, Glenn Greenwald, as well as David Cay Johnston. This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The War and Peace Report. We’ll be back with them in a minute.

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As Mueller Finds No Collusion, Did Press Overhype Russiagate? Glenn Greenwald vs. David Cay Johnston

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