US attorney general William Barr on Sunday handed a summary of the special counsel’s report on Russian interference in the 2016 election to members of Congress.
It revealed that Robert Mueller found no “Trump campaign official or associate conspired or knowingly co-ordinated” with Russian operatives during the 2016 campaign.
The report shows that Mueller has not filed any further criminal indictments following an almost two-year-long investigation that has seen some of Donald Trump’s closest advisers criminally prosecuted and convicted.
The special counsel was also unable to draw a conclusion “one way or the other” whether Trump or anyone in the White House obstructed justice during the investigation.
Barr’s letter stated that he, a Trump appointee, and deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein determined themselves that a prosecution should not be sought against the president for obstruction of justice.
Barr described the evidence for obstruction as “not sufficient to establish that the president committed an obstruction-of-justice offense”. Furthermore, Barr insisted in his letter the decision not to prosecute was not made based on any limitations related to the indictment of a sitting president.
The findings were likely to be seized on and weaponised by Trump and his allies, who have always maintained there was no collusion between the election campaign and Russia.
The president has sought to portray himself as a victim of a conspiracy by “the deep state” as well as Democrats and the “fake news” media.
He may now seek to turn the Mueller investigation to his advantage in the 2020 presidential election, claiming it shows he won fair and square after all and that desperate opponents will do anything to thwart him. Volleys of tweets and rally speeches now seem inevitable.
- More details soon…
As the Mueller investigation unfolds …
… The Guardian offers clarity at this critical moment in American history. As the most momentous political probe since Watergate plays out, we will continue to provide insight, analysis and factual reporting to help bring the truth to light.
But we need your help, too. More people, all around the world, are reading and supporting The Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism. And unlike many news organisations, we have chosen an approach that allows us to keep our reporting accessible to everyone, regardless of where they live or what they can afford.
The Guardian is editorially independent, meaning we set our own agenda. Our journalism is free from commercial bias and not influenced by billionaire owners, politicians or shareholders. No one edits our editor. No one steers our opinion.
This is important as it enables us to give a voice to those less heard, challenge the powerful and hold them to account. It’s what makes us different from so many others in the media, at a time when factual, honest reporting is critical.
Every contribution we receive from readers like you, big or small, goes directly into funding our journalism. This support enables us to keep working as we do – but we must maintain and build on it for every year to come. Support The Guardian from as little as $1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you.
Support The Guardian