Eli Ridder | Special Report
The final but redacted report by U.S. special counsel Robert Mueller was released on Thursday morning, outlining what will soon be a divisive fight between the president and his Republicans and the Democratic Party.
Mueller did not find enough evidence to force a criminal prosecution. Attorney General William Barr did not find that U.S. President Donald Trump committed obstruction, but concluded earlier that the president did not collude with Russia during the 2016 election.
So, essentially, the Mueller report has turned from being a legal document and, as Mueller leaves it to the U.S. Congress to interpret it in terms of obstruction of justice, and will now be a political document.
Impeachment hopefuls may wish it be used as a weapon, but Democratic leadership have made it clear previous to Thursday that they essentially are focusing on the 2020 election.
The Democrats planning to bring Mueller to Congress for questioning.
These are the big findings so far from Reuters and The New York Times:
Here are what Reuters journalists have found in the Mueller report so far:
- Lawyers were ‘unable to reach’ a decision on obstruction and that they did not ‘make a traditional prosecution decision.’
- Prosecutors did not subpoena Trump because it would create a ‘substantial delay’ at a ‘late stage’ in the investigation; Mueller believes he had authority to subpoena Trump despite not doing so.
- The report accepted the longstanding Justice Department view that a sitting president may not be indicted as part of legal analysis for obstruction.
- Trump asked Deputy National Security Adviser K.T. McFarland to draft internal letter saying he had not asked Michael Flynn to discuss sanctions with Russian ambassador.
- Trump repeatedly asked White House counsel Don McGahn to intervene with the Justice Department after former FBI Director Comey disclosed the investigation of the Trump campaign to Congress.
- Mueller report says White House counsel McGahn refused to carry out Trump’s order to fire Mueller ‘for fear of being seen as triggering another Saturday night massacre.’
- There is ‘substantial evidence’ that Trump fired FBI Director Comey due to his ‘unwillingness to publicly state that the president was not personally under investigation.’
- Trump directed ex-campaign manager Corey Lewandowski to ask former Attorney General Sessions to say the Russia investigation was ‘very unfair.’
- When then-attorney general Sessions told Trump a special counsel was being appointed, Trump said ‘this is the end of my presidency.’
- While under investigation, Manafort told deputy Rick Gates in January 2018 that president’s personal counsel had told him they were ‘going to take care of us.’
- Wikileaks sent Donald Trump Jr. a password to access the website putintrump.org, which he told the campaign he successfully used. WikiLeaks also asked Don Jr. to tweet the link to the Podesta emails, which he did.
- The special counsel determined there was a ‘reasonable argument’ that Donald Trump Jr. violated campaign finance laws, but did not believe they could obtain a conviction.
- Mueller says CEO of Russian sovereign wealth fund, Kirill Dmitriev, and friend of Jared Kushner collaborated on written reconciliation plan for U.S. and Russia.
- Mueller report says former national security adviser Michael told investigators that Trump made repeated requests to find deleted Clinton emails.
- Trump directed aides numerous times not to disclose emails about June 2016 Trump Tower meeting between campaign officials and Russians offering derogatory information on Hillary Clinton.
Trump called McGahn at home and ordered him to dismiss Mueller
On June 17, 2017 the president called McGahn at home and directed him to call the acting attorney general and say that the special counsel had conflicts of interest and must be removed. McGahn did not carry out the direction, however, deciding that he would resign rather than trigger what he regarded as a potential Saturday Night Massacre.
We knew that Mr. Trump had ordered his White House counsel, Donald F. McGahn II, in June 2017 to have the deputy attorney general, Rod J. Rosenstein, fire Mr. Mueller, and that Mr. McGahn had refused to do so.
We did not know that the president called him at home to pressure him. The “Saturday Night Massacre” refers to the Watergate episode in which the Nixon administration’s attorney general and deputy attorney general both resigned rather than carry out President Nixon’s order to fire the prosecutor investigating that scandal, leading to a severe political backlash.
- NY Times
Trump-Russia: They would’ve had to agree
An agreement “requires more than the two parties taking actions that were informed by or responsive to other’s actions or interests.
It was not enough for investigators simply to show the Trump campaign knew what the Russians were up to, and responded. Trump associates had to specifically agree with the Russians to violate the law.
Mr. Trump likely fired Comey for refusing to clear him
Substantial evidence indicates that the catalyst for the president’s decision to fire Comey was Comey’s unwillingness to publicly state that the president was not personally under investigation, despite the president’s repeated requests that Comey make such an announcement.
Mr. Mueller effectively finds that the White House’s initial explanation for the firing was untrue. White House officials said that Mr. Comey was dismissed over his handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation.
The administration’s ever-changing justification for that firing led to speculation that Mr. Trump had fired him to sabotage the Russia investigation.
- The NY Times
Image of Robert Mueller from previous files.