Special Counsel Robert Mueller leaves the U.S. Capitol on June 21, 2017. (AP Photo)
After a nearly two-year investigation, Special Counsel Robert Mueller delivered to the attorney general his findings on Russia’s interference in the 2016 election and whether the Trump campaign coordinated with Moscow. Attorney General William Barr’s summary of the report is now public.
On collusion, Barr’s summary states that Mueller did not find criminal coordination between Moscow and the Trump campaign.
Here, Barr quoted the Mueller report directly: “(T)he investigation did not establish that members of the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.”
On obstruction of justice, Barr’s summary states that Mueller did not take a position.
“The special counsel did not (…) draw a conclusion — one way or the other — as to whether the examined conduct constituted obstruction,” Barr’s letter stated.
Barr noted that Mueller’s findings did not specifically clear Trump, though.
“The special counsel states that ‘while this report does not conclude that the president committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him,’ ” reads Barr’s letter, quoting Mueller.
Separately, Barr and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein concluded that Mueller’s findings were not sufficient to establish that Trump obstructed justice. They noted that the fact that Trump wasn’t involved in conspiring with Russia was a factor in reaching the conclusion that Trump did not obstruct justice. Read more on our website
Legal experts weigh in
The summary appears to have quieted talk of collusion. But for some legal experts, the more equivocal findings on obstruction are fueling new questions. Others say it’s simply time to give it all a rest.
Bradley Moss, a national security attorney, told us Mueller may have handed off the question to Barr because it was ultimately a highly sensitive political question.
“He may have felt it was not one for him — an unelected special counsel — to render judgment on,” Moss said. “It was something for the political part of DOJ to address.”
Yet even if Barr’s move was duly authorized, some believe his decision may have overlooked key evidence.
“It is wrong for Barr to conclude that there was no evidence of corrupt intent given that Trump was never interviewed in person about the obstruction issue,” said Jens David Ohlin, a law professor at Cornell Law School. “The best way of establishing or disproving intent is to hear from the individual in question.” Read what other legal experts had to say