WASHINGTON — Special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation found no coordination with or conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russians attempting to interfere in the 2016 presidential election, according to a letter sent Sunday by Attorney General William Barr to Congress.
Mueller also decided not to make a “traditional prosecutorial judgment” on whether to charge President Donald Trump with obstruction of justice, according to Barr. The Mueller report concluded, Barr quoted in his four-page letter, “While this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it does not exonerate him.”
Mueller’s office instead left the decision to prosecute Trump to Barr, who wrote that after consulting with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, he had “determined 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 continued that the report had identified “no actions that, in our judgment, constitute obstruction conduct.”
Trump was at Mar-a-Lago when the letter was released. At the West Palm Beach airport as he prepared to board Air Force One for his return to Washington, Trump called the finding “a complete and total exoneration.”
“There was no collusion with Russia,” Trump said.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer issued a joint statement suggesting that Democrats will turn up the heat not on Mueller, whom they have portrayed as an heroic figure, but on Barr.
“Given Mr. Barr’s public record of bias against the Special Counsel’s inquiry, he is not a neutral observer and is not in a position to make objective determinations about the report,” Pelosi and Schumer said in the statement.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, one of the four lawmakers to whom the four-page Barr letter was addressed, tweeted: “In light of the very concerning discrepancies and final decision making the Justice Department following the Special Counsel report, where Mueller did not exonerate the President, we will be calling Attorney General Barr in to testify before @HouseJudiciary in the near future.”
Congressional Democrats had begun demanding release of the full report ahead of Mueller handing it over to Barr on Friday, despite legal hurdles to releasing information on some grand jury probes as well as classified material.
U.S. Rep. Dina Titus, D-Nev., reacted to the decision with a statement of her own.
“As Americans, we should feel some relief in the Special Counsel’s conclusion that the Trump campaign did not coordinate with the Russian government,” the statement reads. “Yet, we cannot tolerate the fact that the President essentially remains an unindicted co-conspirator in a separate, ongoing criminal investigation that suggests he broke the law to win the election.”
It continues: “Since the report did not reach a conclusion about whether the President obstructed justice, all supporting evidence in this investigation must be sent to Congress so that we can make a final determination. This is not a question for the Attorney General to decide. The American people deserve to know all the underlying facts.”
Tom Steyer, the California billionaire Democrat who started the organization Need to Impeach, issued a statement in which he called for release of “the Mueller report in its entirety,” adding that “Congress should not accept anything less. Mueller concluded that he could not exonerate Trump, and the American people need to know why.”
According to Barr’s letter, the Mueller probe employed 19 lawyers as well as 40 FBI agents and other staffers and issued more than 2,800 subpoenas and nearly 500 search warrants.
The Mueller team also interviewed approximately 500 witnesses but did not have an oral interview with Trump.
All told, the Mueller team indicted 34 people, including more than a dozen Russians. The special counsel’s office also referred cases to the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Southern District of New York.
While the Justice Department signaled that there will be no further indictments, the 22-month probe resulted in guilty pleas from five former Trump advisers: former Trump personal attorney Michael Cohen, former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, former national security adviser Michael Flynn, former Manafort associate and campaign aide Rick Gates and former campaign adviser George Papadopoulos.
Longtime Trump whisperer Roger Stone has been charged with lying to Congress, witness tampering and obstruction. He is scheduled to go to trial on Nov. 5.