Saturday, 17 August, 2019

Mueller report examines '10 episodes' of potential obstruction by Trump - Barr

The Mueller Report: Watch Live Stream of AG William Barr's Press Conference William Barr says Mueller found 10 cases of possible Trump obstruction ahead of report's release
Patty Aguilar | 20 April, 2019, 14:13

Attorney General William Barr is releasing Robert Mueller's long-anticipated report into Russian interference in the 2016 election, with large portions of the more than 300-page document redacted. Earlier, Barr held a press conference to defend Trump, saying the report concluded there was no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian Federation.

"There is substantial evidence to show that the President was frustrated and angered by a honest belief that the investigation was undermining his presidency, propelled by his political opponents, and fueled by illegal leaks", he said.

Attorney General William Barr on Thursday released a redacted version of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's long-awaited report.

Investigative journalist Michael Isikoff discusses Mueller's report into Trump and A-G Barr's press conference in advance of the release, along with dissent within the special counsel's office.

Last month, the US Attorney General stated that after 22 months of work, Robert Mueller's team had concluded that there had been no collusion between Russian Federation and the Trump campaign. And it says Trump had been agitated by the investigation from the start, reporting that Trump reacted to Mueller's appointment by saying it was the "end of his presidency". Barr said Trump's lawyers "were not permitted to make, and did not request, any redactions". He repeated what has become a near daily refrain of criticism of the Russian Federation investigation using his favored Twitter account. There is evidence of extensive cooperation by the White House in fulfilling documents requests, providing staff for interviews, etc.

Mr Barr said that he and his deputy, Rod Rosenstein, concluded this did not equate to obstruction of justice. We'll see whether Mueller drew the same conclusions, but this was a very conspicuous inclusion in Barr's prepared remarks.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) called Barr's presser a "campaign press conference" for President Donald Trump.

"If we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the president clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state", the report stated.

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The attorney general also revealed a group of bipartisan lawmakers from several congressional committees will see a version of the report without redactions, except for grand jury information. Mueller and other members of his team will not attend, special counsel spokesperson Peter Carr said. That effort, the report claims, consisted of the Internet Research Agency's alleged social media manipulation, and the GRU's supposed hacking of DNC emails and handing them over to WikiLeaks.

The release of the full report has been craved by anti-Trump "Resistance" Democrats and media alike, clinging to the Russian Federation collusion allegations which have become known in the conservative camp as the "Russiagate" conspiracy theory.

For all of that, Mueller said in his report that he could not conclusively determine that the president had committed criminal obstruction of justice. He made broad claims that it cleared the president of suspected wrongdoing, while admitting that he disagreed with some of Mueller's findings and pleading for Trump's behavior to be considered in "context".

The special counsel, meanwhile, did not reach a conclusion on whether Trump had obstructed justice, said Barr's synopsis. Though the report said "the campaign anticipated receiving derogatory documents and information" from Russians that "could assist Trump's electoral prospects", it said "the government would unlikely be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt" that the participants at that meeting "had general knowledge that their conduct was unlawful".

He added the president opted not to invoke executive privilege on any material on the redacted Mueller report when the Justice Department shared a copy with the White House on March 29.

"They are making Al Capone look straight", a member of the House Judiciary Committee told The Daily Beast off the record. Mueller said that Trump was "mostly unsuccessful" in those attempts.

The attorney general also said Mueller's investigation failed to establish that Trump obstructed justice.

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