US Attorney General Robert Barr has told congressional leaders that Special Counsel Robert Mueller has concluded in his investigation that President Donald Trump should not be charged with obstruction of justice or having conspired or coordinated with Russia to interfere in the 2016 elections.
Barr, in a letter to Congress on Sunday, 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 US presidential election.”
“The Special Counsel states that ‘while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him’,” Barr added.
Following the release of Barr’s summary, Trump claimed on Twitter: “No Collusion, No Obstruction, Complete and Total EXONERATION. KEEP AMERICA GREAT!”
Mueller concluded his investigation and sent a final report to Barr on Friday.
The special counsel did not reach a conclusion about whether Trump obstructed justice during the investigation but Barr’s letter reached a finding that, without evidence of an underlying conspiracy, the legal threshold for obstruction would not be met.
“The investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities,” Mueller’s report stated, according to Barr.
Further, Mueller “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 Russian campaign”.
Barr said he and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein “concluded that the evidence developed during the Special Counsel’s investigation is not sufficient to establish that the President committed an obstruction-of-justice offence”.
The lack of a finding of obstruction was based on the recognition that “the evidence does not establish that the President was involved in an underlying crime related to Russian election interference”, the letter said.
By manufacturing a legal conclusion there was no obstruction, Barr’s letter appeared to give Trump what he wanted politically, even though the underlying report said the president was not exonerated.