Mueller Report sparks more infighting in Washington
April 21, 2019 | 11:14 AM
by Agencies
President Donald Trump.

Washington: The release of a redacted version of Special Counsel Robert Mueller III's investigative report has sparked even mkre bipartisan infighting between supporters and opponents of President Donald Trump.

The 448-page report, released by the Justice Department, is the culmination of Mueller's nearly two-year inquiry into whether Trump's campaign conspired with the Russian government during the 2016 US presidential election and whether the president had obstructed justice.

The investigation found no evidence that Trump's campaign team engaged in a criminal conspiracy with Russia, while Mueller was unable to draw a conclusion on whether the president committed obstruction of justice, according to the report.

"The evidence we obtained about the President's actions and intent presents difficult issues that prevent us from conclusively determining that no criminal conduct occurred," the report said.

"Accordingly, while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him," it added.

Attorney General William Barr, who held a press conference at the Justice Department shortly before the report's public release, said Mueller did not make a "traditional prosecutorial judgement" regarding allegations that Trump had obstructed justice.

Instead, the special counsel recounts 10 episodes in his report involving the president and discusses potential legal theories for connecting these actions to elements of an obstruction offense.

Barr said that, though he and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein disagreed with some of Mueller's "legal theories" about obstruction of justice, they concluded that the special counsel did not have "sufficient" evidence to establish that Trump committed an obstruction of justice.

The report also alleged that there was a Russian campaign of hacking and propaganda to sow discord in the US, boost Trump, and denigrate his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton. Russia has repeatedly denied any meddling in the US elections.

The release of the report came nearly a month after Mueller concluded his wide-ranging inquiry, which had led to felony charges against 34 people, including six Trump associates and advisers as well as three entities, and has shadowed the White House.

According to Mueller's report, the special counsel referred 14 investigations to other US attorney's offices.

Mueller, who Rosenstein appointed in May 2017, took over the investigation after Trump abruptly fired former FBI Director James Comey, a move that raised questions about potential obstruction of justice.

According to the report, Trump was frustrated by the special counsel's appointment.

"Everyone tells me if you get one of these independent counsels it ruins your presidency," Trump said, cited by the report. "It takes years and years and I won't be able to do anything. This is the worst thing that ever happened to me."

Trump also tried to seize control of Mueller's investigation and force his removal after media reports indicated that the special counsel was looking into whether he had obstructed justice, the report revealed.

In June 2017, Trump reportedly directed then White House Counsel Don McGahn to call a Justice Department official and say that Mueller "had conflicts of interest and must be removed." McGahn refused and threatened to resign.

"The President's efforts to influence the investigation were mostly unsuccessful, but that is largely because the persons who surrounded the president declined to carry out orders or accede to his requests," Mueller wrote in the report.

Rudy Giuliani, Trump's lawyer, defended the president, saying that he "did not have a guilty motive."

The special counsel also wrote that he had the authority to issue a grand jury subpoena in order to interview Trump but decided against doing so because it would delay the investigation.

He said his team "had sufficient evidence to understand relevant events and to make certain assessments without the president's testimony."

Trump did provide written testimony on "certain" Russia-related topics, but not on "obstruction topics," said the report.

Trump said at the White House on Thursday that he's "having a good day."

"It's called no collusion, no obstruction," the president stated. "This should never happen to another president again."

Trump's re-election campaign claimed in a statement on Thursday that the president "has been fully and completely exonerated yet again."

"Now the tables have turned, and it's time to investigate the liars who instigated this sham investigation into President Trump," said campaign manager Brad Parscale.

Democrats have demanded the full unredacted report be made public to get a clearer picture of Mueller's investigation and conduct Congressional oversight.

Jerry Nadler, Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee issued a subpoena for the full report over the weekend.

"I have issued a subpoena to the Department of Justice for the full version of the Mueller report and the underlying evidence," Nadler said in a statement, declaring a 1 May deadline.

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