White House Cheers After Mueller Report Summary Is Released

on Mar24
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2019-03-24 17:03:21

The White House called the summary of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election “a total and complete exoneration” of President Donald Trump after the attorney general said it found Trump’s presidential campaign did not coordinate or conspire with Russia.

Other Republicans, like Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Lindsey Graham, cheered the summary after its release on Sunday, but Democrats wanted to learn more about a part of the report that stated that Mueller “does not conclude that the President committed a crime [but] also does not exonerate him.”

The report was submitted to Attorney General William Barr on Friday, and Barr sent Congress his summary of its “principal conclusions” on Sunday. Read more about it here. 

Mueller’s investigation has captivated Washington and much of the country, in part because of the secrecy around it. The summary from Barr, a Trump appointee, is the first window into what Mueller found.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement that Mueller “did not find any collusion and did not find any obstruction,” though Mueller did not exonerate Trump on the second point, according to the summary.

She continued, “Attorney General Barr and Deputy Attorney General (Rod) Rosenstein further determined there was no obstruction. The findings of the Department of Justice are a total and complete exoneration of the President of the United States.” 

Graham said in a statement that Sunday was a “Great day for President Trump” and that the “cloud hanging over President Trump has been removed by this report.”

Trump aide Dan Scavino tweeted about Mueller’s investigation not finding that the Trump campaign or its associates “conspired or coordinated with Russia,” commenting, “As we’ve been saying for the past two years.”

But the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Democratic Rep. Jerry Nadler, said the public needed to learn more about a key part of the summary — that Mueller chose not to draw a conclusion on whether Trump committed obstruction of justice — and the release of a summary of the report within two days of it being submitted.

“There must be full transparency in what Special Counsel Mueller uncovered to not exonerate the President from wrongdoing. [The Department of Justice] owes the public more than just a brief synopsis and decision not to go any further in their work,” he tweeted, calling for Barr to testify.

Barr wrote that he and Rosenstein decided that the evidence was not sufficient to establish that Trump had committed an obstruction-of-justice offense.

The report capped a nearly two-year-long investigation in which 34 people were indicted, including Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who was recently sentenced to 7 ½ years in prison, and former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who has been cooperating in the probe.

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