March 24, 2019 3:47 pm
Updated: March 25, 2019 6:44 am

Mueller report finds no collusion with Russia but ‘does not exonerate’ Trump

WATCH ABOVE: Trump calls Mueller findings an exoneration

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Latest updates (10:29 p.m.)

  • Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani is calling for a probe into the Mueller investigation itself.
  • The Republican Party said in a tweet that the Mueller investigation will “go down in history as one of the widest ranging and most expensive” probes.
  • U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence reacted to the release of Attorney General William Barr’s summary of the Mueller report, calling it a “great day for America.”
  • Democrats are seeking the release of the full report and said they will call on Barr to testify before the House Judiciary Committee.
  • Trump described the investigation as an “illegal takedown” and repeated his claim there was no collusion with Russia.
  • Barr released his summary of the Mueller report, which found there was no conspiracy between Trump’s 2016 election campaign and Russia.

There was no evidence the Trump campaign colluded with Russia during the 2016 U.S. presidential election, according to the U.S. attorney general’s summary of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation — though Mueller stopped short of exonerating the president on obstruction allegations.

READ MORE: Full text of Mueller report summary by U.S. Attorney General

Donald Trump called the probe an “illegal takedown that failed” and described the result as a “complete and total exoneration.”

“There was no collusion with Russia,” he told reporters. “There was no obstruction, and none whatsoever.”

He added it was a shame that the country, along with its president, “had to go through this.”

WATCH: A timeline of Robert Mueller’s Russia probe


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Mueller’s full report has not been released, though U.S. Attorney General William Barr published a four-page summary outlining its key points on Sunday.

According to Barr, Mueller concluded that neither the U.S. president nor members of his campaign conspired with the Russian government.

Mueller did find, however, that there were two efforts by Russia to influence the outcome of the election: one an online disinformation campaign, the other involving computer hacking.

READ MORE: What you need to know about the Robert Mueller investigation

Mueller declined to make a “traditional prosecutorial judgement” on allegations of obstruction of justice involving Trump and outlined evidence on both sides.

Barr’s summary quotes Mueller as saying that “while this report does not conclude that the president committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.”

Mueller left it up to the attorney general to determine whether Trump had committed a crime. Barr, along with deputy AG Rod Rosenstein, concluded the report did not present sufficient evidence.

WATCH: More coverage of the Mueller report

“The report identifies no actions that, in our judgment, constitute obstructive conduct, had a nexus to a pending or contemplated proceeding and were done with corrupt intent, each of which, under the department’s principles of federal prosecution guiding charging decisions, would need to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt to establish an obstruction-of­-justice offence,” Barr wrote.

Democrats are demanding to see Mueller’s full report and say they will subpoena Barr to appear before the House Judiciary Committee, if necessary.

WATCH: Jerrold Nadler refutes Trump’s claims of Mueller report findings

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, a Democrat, said Barr’s summary of the Mueller report does not amount to an exoneration for Trump. He said Congress must step in to find “the truth.”

“It is unacceptable that, after special counsel Mueller spent 22 months meticulously uncovering this evidence, Attorney General Barr made a decision not to charge the president in under 48 hours,” Nadler said in a joint statement with Adam Schiff and Elijah Cummings.

They said that a letter Barr sent to the Department of Justice in June —long before his confirmation as attorney general last month — raises questions of potential bias.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer released a statement that argued Barr is not in a position to objectively evaluate Mueller’s report.

“Congress requires the full report and the underlying documents so that the committees can proceed with their independent work, including oversight and legislating to address any issues the Mueller report may raise. The American people have a right to know,” the statement read.

READ MORE: ‘Total exoneration’ — Donald Trump, White House hail Mueller investigation findings

Mueller’s conclusions were heralded as a win by those in Trump’s circle — including his son, Eric, who called the collusion allegations a “hoax CNN has exploited for two years.”

The president’s eldest son Donald Trump Jr. — who escaped indictments in Mueller’s probe — took aim at Democrats and “collusion truthers” in the news media.

“After more than two years of non-stop conspiracy theories from CNN, MSNBC, Buzzfeed and the rest of the mainstream media, as well as daily lies and smears coming from Democrats in Washington, the Mueller report proves that those of us with sane minds have known all along — there was zero collusion with Russia,” Trump Jr. said in a statement.

Vice-President Mike Pence called it “a great day for America” and the Trump administration.

White House spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders also described Mueller’s report as a “total and complete exoneration.”

“The special counsel did not find any collusion and did not find any obstruction. AG Barr and DAG Rosenstein further determined there was no obstruction,” Sanders tweeted Sunday afternoon.

Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani told Fox News he wants to see an investigation into the Mueller probe itself.

“There has to be a full and complete investigation, with at least as much enthusiasm as this one, to figure out where did this charge emanate, who started it, who paid for it,” he said.

READ MORE: Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation: An extensive timeline

The release of the special counsel’s findings wraps up a nearly two-year investigation that Trump has described as “witch hunt.”

The Republican party said in a tweet the Mueller investigation will “go down in history as one of the widest ranging and most expensive” with a cost of over $25 million through September.

Barr said that Mueller issued 2,800 subpoenas during the probe. Nearly 500 search warrants were executed and roughly 500 people were interviewed.

Over the course of the investigation, Mueller charged 34 people, including the president’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort; his first national security adviser, Michael Flynn and three Russian companies.

Twenty-five Russians were indicted on charges related to election interference, accused of either hacking Democratic email accounts during the campaign or orchestrating a social media campaign that spread disinformation on the internet.

READ MORE: Mueller report: Key players indicted in the Russia probe

Five Trump aides pleaded guilty and agreed to co-operate with Mueller, and a sixth, longtime confidant, Roger Stone, is awaiting trial on charges that he lied to Congress and engaged in witness tampering.

Trump was not interviewed personally during the investigation. He repeatedly said there was “no collusion” between his campaign and Russia.

 

—With files from the Associated Press and Rahul Kalvapalle

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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