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Mueller: No Collusion Evidence; Unclear on Obstruction

Evidence fell short of a 'prosecutorial judgment'
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 24, 2019 2:54 PM CDT
Special Counsel Robert Mueller departs St. John's Episcopal Church, across from the White House, after attending services, in Washington, Sunday, March 24, 2019.   (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

(Newser) – It has arrived: Attorney General William Barr delivered a four-page letter Sunday to Congress summarizing the central findings of the Mueller probe, the New York Times reports. In the letter, Barr says Robert Mueller's team didn't find sufficient evidence of President Trump colluding with Russia but also didn't give him a pass. "The Special Counsel states that 'while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him,'" Barr writes, adding that "the Special Counsel ... did not draw a conclusion—one way or the other—as to whether the examined conduct constituted obstruction." That left it up to Barr and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to decide whether an obstruction of justice case could be made. The letter goes on:

  • Insufficient evidence: He and Rosenstein "have concluded that the evidence developed during the Special Counsel’s investigation is not sufficient to establish that the President committed an obstruction-of-justice offense."
  • Not because he's president: Barr adds that their decision "was made without regard to ... constitutional considerations that surround the indictment and criminal prosecution of a sitting president."
  • Trump's campaign: Mueller also lacked evidence of Trump campaign officials aiding Russian-government interference in the 2016 elections, notes Politico. "The investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities," per the letter.
  • 'Difficult issues': On each matter, "the report sets out evidence on both sides of the question and leaves unresolved what the Special Counsel views as 'difficult issues' of law and fact concerning whether the President’s actions and intent could be viewed as obstruction."
  • What you can prove: Barr says two criteria were needed for a solid obstruction case: An action needed to have "a nexus to a pending or contemplated proceeding" and be "done with corrupt intent." Apparently, none did.
  • Read the full letter here.
(Read more Russia investigation stories.)

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