Mueller report found no evidence of Trump-Russia collusion: Justice Dept

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s report found no evidence that US President Donald Trump’s campaign team “conspired or coordinated” with Russia to influence the 2016 presidential election, Attorney General William Barr said Sunday.

Mueller’s investigation also found no evidence that the president had committed a crime, but it fell short of exonerating Trump of obstruction of justice, Barr added.

What we know so far:

  • Barr sent his summary of Mueller’s “principal conclusions” in a 4-page letter to the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee in the US Congress.
  • Mueller “did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities,” Barr said, quoting Mueller’s report directly.
  • The report also “did not draw a conclusion — one way or another” on whether Trump’s actions had obstructed justice — that left the attorney general with the task of determining “whether the conduct described in the report constitutes a crime,” Barr said.
  • Barr said he and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein had concluded that the evidence was “not sufficient” to establish that Trump had obstructed justice.

Read more: Robert Mueller delivers Russia probe to US Justice Department 

‘Complete and total exoneration’

“It’s a shame our country and your president had to go through this,” said Trump, who described the Russia probe as an “illegal take-down that failed,” adding he hoped somebody would be “looking at the other side.” Just minutes earlier the president tweeted: “No Collusion, No Obstruction, Complete and Total EXONERATION. KEEP AMERICA GREAT!”

“This is a complete and total vindication of the president,” echoed Trump’s legal team in a statement.

‘Very concerning discrepancies’

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler wrote in a Tweet that the government would need to prove “beyond a reasonable doubt” that Trump had not committed an obstruction of justice.

Nadler said he will be calling Barr to testify “in light of the very concerning discrepancies” in the report summary.

In a joint statement, Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer called for the full report to be released and reminded the public that Mueller’s report did not exonerate the president.

“For the president to say he is completely exonerated directly contradicts the words of Mr. Mueller and is not to be taken with any degree of credibility,” they said.

Pelosi and Schumer also noted Barr’s “public record of bias against the Special Counsel’s inquiry,” saying he was not “not a neutral observer” and could not be objective about the report.

  • Donald Trump talks with a beauty contestant in Moscow.

    A timeline of the Russia investigation

    2013: Mr Trump goes to Russia

    June 18, 2013. Donald Trump tweeted: “The Miss Universe Pageant will be broadcast live from MOSCOW, RUSSIA on November 9. A big deal that will bring our countries together!” He later added: “Do you think Putin will be going – if so, will he become my new best friend?” October 17, 2013 Trump tells chat show host David Letterman he has conducted “a lot of business with the Russians.”

  • Cyberattacks are a key factor in the Russia allegations.

    A timeline of the Russia investigation

    September 2015: Hacking allegations raised

    An FBI agent tells a tech-support contractor at the Democratic National Committee it may have been hacked. On May 18, 2016, James Clapper, the director of National Intelligence, says there were “some indications” of cyberattacks aimed at the presidential campaigns. On June 14, 2016 the DNC announces it had been the victim of an attack by Russian hackers.

  • Russian ambassador to the US Sergei Kisljak in Washington

    A timeline of the Russia investigation

    July 20, 2016: Mr Kislyak enters the picture

    Senator Jeff Sessions — an early Trump endorser who led his national security advisory committee — meets Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak and a group of other ambassadors at a Republican National Convention event.

  • Wikileaks chief Julian Assange

    A timeline of the Russia investigation

    July 22, 2016: Assange thickens the plot

    Julian Assange’s WikiLeaks publishes 20,000 emails stolen from the DNC, appearing to show a preference for Hillary Clinton over Senator Bernie Sanders.

  • USA FBI chief James Comey

    A timeline of the Russia investigation

    July 25, 2016: Cometh the hour, Comey the man

    The FBI announces it is investigating the DNC hack saying “a compromise of this nature is something we take very seriously.”

  • USA President Donald Trump

    A timeline of the Russia investigation

    November 8, 2016: Trump elected

    Donald Trump is elected president of the United States. On November 9, the Russian parliament burst into applause at the news.

  • Russian politician Sergej Rybakow

    A timeline of the Russia investigation

    November 10, 2016: Team Trump denies Russia link

    Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Rybakov says there “were contacts” between the Russian government and the Trump campaign during the election campaign. The Trump campaign issues a firm denial.

  • General Michael Flynn, US National Security Adviser.

    A timeline of the Russia investigation

    November 18, 2016: Flynn appointed

    Trump names General Michael Flynn as his national security adviser. The former Defence Intelligence Agency chief was a top foreign policy adviser in Trump’s campaign. Flynn resigned in February after failing to disclose full details of his communication with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

  • Ex-acting attorney general Sally Yates

    A timeline of the Russia investigation

    January 26, 2017: Yates – ‘The center cannot hold’

    Acting Attorney General Sally Yates tells White House counsel Don McGahn that Flynn made false statements regarding his calls with Kislyak. On January 30 Trump fires Yates for refusing to enforce his travel ban, which was later blocked by federal courts.

  • US attorney general, Jeff Sessions

    A timeline of the Russia investigation

    March 2, 2017: Sessions recuses himself

    Trump says he has “total confidence” in Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Sessions announces he will recuse himself from any investigation into ties between Russia and the Trump campaign.

  • ex-head of the FBI James Comey

    A timeline of the Russia investigation

    March 20, 2017: FBI examines Trump-Kremlin links

    FBI Director James Comey confirms before the House Select Committee on Intelligence that the FBI was investigating possible links between Russia and the Trump campaign.

  • Donald Trump and James Comey

    A timeline of the Russia investigation

    May 9, 2017: Trump sacks Comey

    In a letter announcing the termination, Trump writes: “While I greatly appreciate you informing me, on three separate occasions, that I am not under investigation, I nevertheless concur with the judgment of the Department of Justice that you are not able to effectively lead the Bureau.”

  • Special counsel Robert Mueller

    A timeline of the Russia investigation

    May 17, 2017: Mueller appointed special counsel

    Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appoints former FBI Director Robert Mueller to look into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election and possible collusion with the Trump campaign.

  • Paul Manafort (Imago)

    A timeline of the Russia investigation

    August 2017: FBI seizes documents from Manafort

    Shortly after Mueller convenes a grand jury for the investigation, the FBI seizes documents from one of Paul Manafort’s properties as part of a raid for Mueller’s probe. The former Trump campaigner manager stepped down in August 2016 after allegations surfaced that he had received large payments linked to Ukraine’s former pro-Russian government.

  • Donald Trump Jr. (picture alliance/AP Photo/K. Willens)

    A timeline of the Russia investigation

    September 2017: Trump Jr.’s talks to Senate committee

    Donald Trump Jr. tells the Senate Judiciary Committee he has not colluded with a foreign government. The closed-door interview relates to his June 2016 meeting with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, which was also attended by his brother-in-law, Jared Kushner, and then campaign manager Paul Manafort. Trump Jr.’s emails, however, suggest the meeting was supposed to produce dirt on Clinton.

  • Facebook and Twitter logos on a screen (picture-alliance/dpa/Lei)

    A timeline of the Russia investigation

    October 2017: Internet giants allege Russian interference

    Facebook, Twitter and Google reportedly tell US media they have evidence that Russian operatives exploited platforms to spread disinformation during the 2016 US presidential election. The three companies are appear before the Senate Intelligence Committee in November 2017.

  • US President Donald Trump shakes hands with Russian President Vladimir Putin (picture alliance/UPI Photo/newscom/D. Silpa)

    A timeline of the Russia investigation

    July 2018: Trump and Putin meet in Helsinki

    Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin meet in Helsinki for their first-ever summit. During the trip, Trump publically contradicts the findings of US intelligence agencies who concluded that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election.

  • Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions (picture-alliance/AP/A. Brandon)

    A timeline of the Russia investigation

    November 8, 2018: Sessions resigns as attorney general

    Attorney General Jeff Sessions resigns from his post, under reported pressure from Trump. The president then appoints a critic of the Mueller probe as his successor, but later nominates William Barr to be the next attorney general in December 2018.

  • Michael Cohen (Reuters/J. Ernst)

    A timeline of the Russia investigation

    November 29, 2018: Former Trump lawyer pleads guilty

    Trump’s former long-time personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, pleads guilty to lying to Congress about discussions in 2016 on plans to build a Trump Tower in Moscow. The FBI raided his home earlier that year in April. He would later be sentenced to three years in prison. In 2019, he tells Congress that Trump is a “racist” and a “con man.”

  • Roger Stone (picture-alliance/dpa/AP Photo/L. Sladky)

    A timeline of the Russia investigation

    January 2019: Trump associate Roger Stone arrested

    Roger Stone, a longtime Trump associate and Republican operative, is arrested at his home in Florida for lying to Congress about having advance knowledge of plans by WikiLeaks to release emails from the Democratic Party that US officials say were stolen by Russia.

  • Paul Manafort sits in court in Alexandria, Virginia (picture-alliance/AP/D. Verkouteren)

    A timeline of the Russia investigation

    March 13, 2019: Manafort sentenced to prison

    Manafort is found guilty of conspiracy charges and handed an additional sentence, bringing his total prison sentence to 7.5 years. In August 2018, a court in Virginia found him guilty of eight charges, including tax and bank fraud. He also pleaded guilty to two conspiracy counts.

  • Special Counsel Robert Mueller (picture-alliance/AP/C. Dharapak)

    A timeline of the Russia investigation

    March 22, 2019: Mueller ends Russia probe

    Special Counsel Robert Mueller submits a confidential report on the findings of his investigation to the US Justice Department. Officials say the main conclusions of the report will be made public when they are given to Congress.

    Author: Rebecca Staudenmaier, Jo Harper, Kathleen Schuster

Will the full report be released? It’s unclear. The decision about making the entire report public rests with Barr. Earlier this month, US lawmakers unanimously approved a non-binding resolution demanding the report be released.

What did the investigation cover? Robert Mueller was authorized to look into “any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the 2016 campaign of President Donald Trump.” He could also investigate “perjury, obstruction of justice, destruction of evidence, and intimidation of witnesses” committed against his own probe, as well as other matters triggered by the investigation. 

What happens now? Mueller’s probe has ended, however other investigations could result in charges beyond those brought by Mueller.

jgc, kw/se (AP, Reuters)

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