The Attorney General William Barr has notified Congress that Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation found no evidence of collusion on the part of the Trump campaign and the Russian government to interfere in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
The notification was made in a four-page letter sent by Barr to the chairs and ranking members of the Senate and House Judiciary Committees respectively.
“As the report states: The investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities,” Barr wrote.
Barr also wrote that Mueller did not reach a conclusion with respect to obstruction of justice, the second part of Mueller’s investigation, leaving that decision instead to Barr and to Deputy Attorney Rod Rosenstein. Barr indicated that he, Rosenstein and other Justice Department officials found no legal basis for an obstruction of Justice charge to be brought against President Donald Trump.
“The Special Counsel states that ‘while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him,’” Barr wrote.
“After reviewing the Special Counsel’s final report on these issues; consulting with Department officials…Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and I have concluded that the evidence developed during the…investigation is not sufficient to establish that the President committed an obstruction-of-justice offense,” he added.
Importantly, Barr notes that the decision not to bring an obstruction of justice charge was not made with consideration to the long-unsettled legal question of whether a sitting president can be indicted.
The announcements bring to an end a long legal saga that has captured the country’s attention for nearly two years.
The news was hailed as a victory by the Trump administration.
“The Special Counsel did not find any collusion and did not find any obstruction. AG Barr and DAG 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.” White Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders wrote today on Twitter.
House Democrats remain unconvinced however and vowed to keep probing.
“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,” House Judiciary Committee Rep. Jerry Nadler said in a statement.
The President, who has long proclaimed innocence on the question of collusion, as yet to speak publicly on the findings. He had been spending the weekend at his Florida home, Mar-a-Lago, and is due back in Washington tonight.
Photo by The White House via Flickr