Muscat: Special Counsel Robert Mueller III's report found no evidence of collusion between President Donald Trump and Russia, according to a summary of the report presented by U.S. Attorney General William Barr to Congress.
In a letter, Barr said, " 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 to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election. As the report states: “[T]he investigation did not establish that members of the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.”'
Additionally, Barr added, "The Special Counsel’s report states that “while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.”'
Barr stated that Mueller had " issued more than 2,800 subpoenas, executed nearly 500 search warrants, obtained more than 230 orders for communication records, issued almost 50 orders authorizing use of pen registers, made 13 requests to foreign governments for evidence, and interviewed approximately 500 witnesses."
The Special Counsel employed 19 lawyers and a team of approximately 40 FBI agents, intelligence analysts, forensic accountants, and other professional staff, Barr confirmed.
In the report, as cited by Barr, Mueller outlined Russian efforts to influence the 2016 election and "documents crimes committed by persons associated with the Russian government in connection with those efforts."
Mueller's investigation determined that there were two main Russian efforts to influence the election. "The first involved attempts by a Russian organisation, the Internet Research Agency (IRA), to conduct disinformation and social media operations in the United States designed to sow social discord, eventually with the aim of interfering with the election," said Barr.
The second, Barr stated, was linked to cyber-security attacks on the Clinton campaign and the Democratic Party. "The Special Counsel found that Russian government actors successfully hacked into computers and obtained emails from persons associated with the Clinton campaign and Democratic Party organisations, and publicly disseminated those materials through various intermediaries, including WikiLeaks."
Mueller, he asserted, found no evidence that the Trump campaign or anyone associated with it conspired in those efforts.
While Barr clearly stated that Trump was not exonerated, Trump took to Twitter to declare, "No Collusion, No Obstruction, Complete and Total EXONERATION. KEEP AMERICA GREAT!"
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders added, "The Special Counsel did not find any collusion and did not find any obstruction. AG Barr and Deputy AG Rosenstein further determined there was no obstruction. The findings of the DOJ are a total and complete exoneration of the President of the United States.”
Members of the US Congress, however, took a different view of Barr's summary.
Rep. Jerry Nadler, Chair of the House Judiciary Committee, said, "Special Counsel Mueller worked for 22 months to determine the extent to which President Trump obstructed justice. Attorney General Barr took 2 days to tell the American people that while the President is not exonerated, there will be no action by Department of Justice.
"In light of the very concerning discrepancies and final decision making at 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 House Judiciary Committee in the near future."
Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein stated, "Attorney General Barr's 4-page summary of the Mueller report is inadequate and demonstrates why Congress needs to obtain the full report and underlying evidence.
"Mueller elected to describe the facts,leaving it to Attorney General Barr to decide whether the president committed a crime. However, months ahead of his nomination, Barr wrote a 19-page memo concluding the president couldn't commit obstruction, so its no surprise he reached the same conclusion now," she added.
"Congress must do its job and determine whether President Trump abused his authority and what next steps are appropriate."