Trump claims 'exoneration' after release of Mueller report

Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election found there was no conspiracy involving Donald Trump or his campaign, but drew no final conclusions about whether the president obstructed justice, according to a much anticipated summary of the probe sent Sunday afternoon to Congress.

“The Special Counsel did not find that the Trump campaign, or anyone associated with it, conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in these efforts, despite multiple offers from Russian-affiliated individuals to assist the Trump campaign,” read the four-page letter by Attorney General William Barr summarizing “principal conclusions” of Mueller’s investigation. The letter was sent to leaders of the House and Senate Judiciary Committees Sunday afternoon, two days after Mueller delivered the confidential report to Barr.

President Trump and his supporters greeted the report’s conclusions as a complete victory.

“After a long look, after a long investigation, after so many people have been so badly hurt, after not looking at the other side where a lot of bad things happened...it was just announced there was no collusion with Russia, the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard," Trump told reporters before he boarded Air Force One in Palm Beach, Florida where he finally broke his silence days after the end of the two-year investigation into possible collusion between his campaign and the Russian government.

“It was complete and total exoneration,” said Trump. “It’s a shame that our country had to go through this. To be honest it’s a shame that your president had to go through this.”

“No Collusion, No Obstruction, Complete and Total EXONERATION. KEEP AMERICA GREAT!” he posted on Twitter.

In fact, Barr’s letter went on to say, "The Special Counsel states that ‘while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.’"

The White House, however, is touting the report as an exoneration.

“The findings of the Department of Justice are a total and complete exoneration of the President of the United States,” tweeted White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders after Barr’s letter was released to the public.

Rudy Giuliani, a Trump attorney, said Mueller's findings were "better than I expected."

Donald Trump Jr. in a statement to the New York Times’s Maggie Haberman took a similar position. “After more than 2 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 what those of us with sane minds have known all along, there was ZERO collusion with Russia,” the statement read.

Trump Jr. argued that instead of apologizing to Trump, “collusion truthers” were going to “double down” moving forward.

“In light of the very concerning discrepancies and final decision making at the Justice Department following the Special Counsel report, where Mueller did not exonerate the President, we will be calling Attorney General Barr in to testify before @HouseJudiciary in the near future,” tweeted House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, who Sunday morning said he would fight to have the full report released to Congress and the public.

The report had two parts, according to Barr’s letter, one investigating Russian interference and the other evaluating potential obstruction of justice by Trump. While the probe found there was no collusion between the Trump camp and Russia, no conclusion was drawn on possible obstruction, leaving it up to the Barr to decide whether to move forward with charges.

Bar, in his letter, wrote that “Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and I 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.”

With the investigation completion, Democrats and presidential candidates are calling for the full report to be released to the public, a process that could take months of fighting in Congress, or a potential challenge in the Supreme Court.

“Attorney General Barr’s letter raises as many questions as it answers,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer in a joint statement. “The fact that Special Counsel Mueller’s report does not exonerate the president on a charge as serious as obstruction of justice demonstrates how urgent it is that the full report and underlying documentation be made public without any further delay.”

On Friday, Barr notified Congress that, in addition to sending his summary, he intended to "consult with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and Special Counsel Mueller to determine what other information from the report can be released to Congress and the public consistent with the law."

In his summary letter sent Sunday, Barr wrote that while the report is confidential, “I am mindful of the public interest in this matter. For that reason, my goal and intent is to release as much of the Special Counsel’s report as I can consistent with applicable law, regulations, and Departmental policies.”

 

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WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 28: Former FBI director Robert Mueller attends the ceremonial swearing-in of FBI Director James Comey at the FBI Headquarters October 28, 2013 in Washington, DC. Comey was officially sworn in as director of FBI on September 4 to succeed Mueller who had served as director for 12 years. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama applauds outgoing Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) director Robert Mueller (L) in the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington on June 21, 2013 as he nominates Jim Comey to be the next FBI director. Comey, a deputy attorney general under George W. Bush, would replace Mueller, who is stepping down from the agency he has led since the week before the September 11, 2001 attacks. AFP PHOTO/Nicholas KAMM (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
Outgoing FBI Director Robert Mueller applauds key staff members during a farewell ceremony held for him at the Justice Department in Washington, August 1, 2013. On Monday the U.S. Senate confirmed former Deputy Attorney General James Comey to replace Mueller, who has led the bureau since shortly before the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS CRIME LAW HEADSHOT)
391489 03: U.S. President George W. Bush speaks during a conference as he stands with Justice Department veteran Robert Mueller, left, who he has nominated to head the FBI, and Attorney General John Ashcroft July 5, 2001 the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington, DC. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
Outgoing FBI Director Robert Mueller stands for the national anthem during a farewell ceremony for him at the Justice Department in Washington, August 1, 2013. On Monday the U.S. Senate confirmed former Deputy Attorney General James Comey to replace Mueller, who has led the bureau since shortly before the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS CRIME LAW)
Outgoing FBI Director Robert Mueller (L) reacts to a standing ovation from the audience, Deputy U.S. Attorney General James Cole (C) and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder (R) during Mueller's farewell ceremony at the Justice Department in Washington, August 1, 2013. On Monday the U.S. Senate confirmed former Deputy Attorney General James Comey to replace Mueller, who has led the bureau since shortly before the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS CRIME LAW)
Outgoing FBI Director Robert Mueller gestures during his remarks at a farewell ceremony held for him at the Justice Department in Washington, August 1, 2013. On Monday the U.S. Senate confirmed former Deputy Attorney General James Comey to replace Mueller, who has led the bureau since shortly before the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS CRIME LAW)
FILE PHOTO -- U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft (R) and FBI Director Robert Mueller speak about possible terrorist threats against the United States, in Washington, May 26, 2004. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque/File Photo
Outgoing FBI Director Robert Mueller reacts to applause from the audience during his farewell ceremony at the Justice Department in Washington, August 1, 2013. On Monday the U.S. Senate confirmed former Deputy Attorney General James Comey to replace Mueller, who has led the bureau since shortly before the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS CRIME LAW)
UNITED STATES - JUNE 19: Chairman Pat Leahy, D-Vt., right, and FBI Director Robert Mueller make their way to a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in Dirksen Building on oversight of the FBI. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
Outgoing FBI Director Robert Mueller (C) delivers remarks at a farewell ceremony for him at the Justice Department in Washington, August 1, 2013. On Monday the U.S. Senate confirmed former Deputy Attorney General James Comey to replace Mueller, who has led the bureau since shortly before the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States. Also onstage with Mueller are Deputy U.S. Attorney General James Cole (FROM L), U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, former CIA Director George Tenet and TSA Administrator John Pistole. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS CRIME LAW)
WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 15: (L-R) Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD), U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, FBI Director Robert Mueller and Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director John Morton attend the National Peace Officers' Memorial Service at the U.S. Capitol May 15, 2013 in Washington, DC. Holder and other members of the Obama administration are being criticized over reports of the Internal Revenue Services' scrutiny of conservative organization's tax exemption requests and the subpoena of two months worth of Associated Press journalists' phone records. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
FBI Director Robert Mueller testifies before the House Judiciary Committee hearing on Federal Bureau of Investigation oversight on Capitol Hill in Washington June 13, 2013. Mueller said on Thursday that the U.S. government is doing everything it can to hold confessed leaker Edward Snowden accountable for splashing surveillance secrets across the pages of newspapers worldwide. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS CRIME LAW)
Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych (L) welcomes FBI Director Robert Mueller during their meeting in Kiev June 5, 2013. REUTERS/Efrem Lukatsky/Pool (UKRAINE - Tags: POLITICS)
FBI Director Robert Mueller (L) arrives for the Obama presidential inauguration on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol January 21, 2013 in Washington. President Barack Obama was re-elected for a second term as President of the United States. Woman at right is unidentified. REUTERS/Win McNamee-POOL (UNITED STATES)
WASHINGTON, : FBI Director Robert Mueller answers questions before Congress 17 October 2002 on Capitol Hill in Washington. Mueller was testifying before the House and Senate Select Intelligence committees' final open hearing investigating events leading up to the September 11, 2001. AFP Photos/Stephen JAFFE (Photo credit should read STEPHEN JAFFE/AFP/Getty Images)
(L-R) CIA Director Leon Panetta, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and FBI Director Robert Mueller testify at a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, February 16, 2011. REUTERS/Jason Reed (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS)
399994 02: Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director Robert Mueller visits the American military compound at Kandahar Airport January 23, 2002 in Kandahar, Afghanistan. Mueller had lunch with FBI officials and Haji Gulali, commander of the Kandahar region. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director Robert Mueller (L) stand during the National Anthem alongside Attorney General Eric Holder (R) and Deputy Attorney General James Cole (C) during a farewell ceremony in Mueller's honor at the Department of Justice on August 1, 2013. Mueller is retiring from the FBI after 12-years as Director. AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
399994 01: Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director Robert Mueller greets American forces on the American military compound at Kandahar Airport January 23, 2002 in Kandahar, Afghanistan. Mueller had lunch with FBI officials and Haji Gulali, commander of the Kandahar region. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - JUNE 19: FBI Director Robert Mueller, center, talks with Chairman Pat Leahy, D-Vt., right, and Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, talk before a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in Dirksen Building on oversight of the FBI. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
UNITED STATES - JUNE 06: OVERSIGHT HEARING ON COUNTERTERRORISM--Sen. Richard J. Durbin, D-Ill., Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick J. Leahy, D-Vt., FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III, and Sen. Charles E. Grassley, R-Iowa, before the hearing. (Photo by Scott J. Ferrell/Congressional Quarterly/Getty Images)
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