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An investigation led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller has found that President Donald Trump’s campaign in 2016 did not collude with the Russian government, said Attorney General William Barr. However, Mueller did not draw any conclusions on whether Trump illegally obstructed justice, so Barr decided to set aside the evidence. Barr was appointed by Trump.
The report says that “while this report does not conclude that the president committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him,” The New York Times reported. Soon after, Trump tweeted, “No Collusion, No Obstruction, Complete and Total EXONERATION. KEEP AMERICA GREAT!”
“It is a shame that our country had to go through this,” Trump told reporters in Florida, according to Bloomberg. The president called Mueller’s investigation “an illegal takedown that failed.”
Barr, who received the report on Friday, sent a four-page summary of the two-year long investigation to the Opposition Democrats. The Democrats are already insisting they see the entire report.
Barr also said the President’s actions did not “constitute obstructive conduct” and were not “done with corrupt intent”, reported CNN. Barr’s summary said Mueller’s report did not recommend any further indictments.
On Russia’s alleged hacking operation in 2016, Barr said the special counsel did not find that the Trump campaign or anyone associated with it conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in these efforts, “despite multiple offers from Russian-affiliated individuals to assist the Trump campaign.”
Besides Trump, his supporters have also seized the summary to claim he has been fully exonerated. Vice President Mike Pence said “today is a great day for America, President Trump, and our entire administration.” He added, “The Attorney General also confirmed there was no obstruction of justice”, and called it a “total vindication”, though it was made clear Trump was not fully exonerated. Barr’s move, which comes ahead of 2020 election campaigning, has come as a big relief to Trump, as there were murmurs of impeachment among the Democrats.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said the special counsel did not find any collusion. “Attorney General Barr and Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein further determined there was no obstruction,” she tweeted. “The findings of the Department of Justice are a total and complete exoneration of the President of the United States.”
Meanwhile, Democrats have demanded that Barr make Mueller’s full report public and provide Mueller’s underlying evidence to Congress. The Democrats threatened to take the Trump administration to court if they were not satisfied with what the Justice Department provides.
The Mueller investigation looked into ties between Trump’s campaign officials and Russia. It also looked into other ways Russia may have influenced the 2016 presidential polls. Russia is also accused of attempting to meddle in the 2016 Brexit referendum.
Trump had refuted allegations that he colluded with Russia or that he obstructed justice by firing Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey. However, several former Trump associates, including his campaign chairman Paul Manafort, former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn and personal lawyer Michael Cohen, are facing charges.