Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report on his inquiry into Russia's role in the 2016 United States election detailed a series of actions by President Donald Trump to impede the probe, raising questions about whether he committed the crime of obstruction of justice.
As a redacted version of Mueller's report was finally released Thursday, Trump resorted to bluster, broadsides and falsehoods to try, once more, to frame the moment as a political victory. More than 100 pages of the report detail the numerous links and meetings between campaign officials and Russian individuals, starting soon after Trump announced his candidacy in June 2015.
"The investigation did not establish that Smith was in contact with Russian hackers or that Smith, Ledeen, or other individuals in touch with the Trump Campaign ultimately obtained the deleted Clinton emails", according to the report.
On June 12, Christopher Ruddy, chief executive of Newsmax Media and described as a longtime friend of Trump, met at the White House with Reince Priebus and Stephen Bannon.
House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler said Thursday that they can not take Barr's word for it, again demanding a read of "the full Mueller report, and the underlying evidence". The president proclaimed his innocence and insisted that the investigation was politically motivated.
He said the report details efforts by Russian military officials associated with the GRU to hack into computers and steal documents and e-mails from individuals affiliated with the Democratic Party and the presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton for the goal of eventually publicising those e-mails. "For the haters and the radical left Democrats - GAME OVER".
The report lists a series of incidents in which Trump took actions to impede the probe. But as the Mueller report points out, you can be guilty of obstruction even if your efforts are unsuccessful, and Trump's failure was due largely to his subordinates' resistance. A few blocks away, there was calm on one of the defining days of Trump's presidency.
"There never was, by the way, and there never will be", he said while at a Wounded Warriors event as the report was published online and submitted to Congress. Russian Federation has denied any meddling in the US election. Among the selections played: "Somewhere Over the Rainbow".
The report says the president's actions included "public attacks on the investigation, non-public efforts to control it, and efforts in both public and private to encourage witnesses not to cooperate with the investigation". McGahn said it would look like he was "still trying to meddle in [the] investigation" and "knocking out Mueller" would be another "fact used to claim obst [ruction] of justice". They scanned for their names to see what Mueller had said about them and how he had characterized their testimony, and wondered how those depictions might sit with a mercurial president.
Staffers had been told by the White House to co-operate fully with Mueller's team and answer their questions truthfully. When Trump saw him next, he did not ask whether McGahn had called Rosenstein. Erik Prince, an informal Trump adviser, gave Ledeen money to hire a tech adviser to analyze the messages, which were later determined to not be authentic, according to Mueller's report.
Barr said there were ten episodes involving Trump that were scrutinised for possible obstruction of justice. "Better luck next hoax!" he said.
Barr, who will be testifying in early May, said Thursday he has "no objection personally to Bob Mueller testifying". The special counsel made clear that he did not exonerate the president.
Trump then returned to Mueller's appointment. "I'm [expletive],'" Mueller wrote. I chose not to.
He also said Trump did not commit an obstruction-of-justice offense. "I don't normally take joy in other people's misery, but after the lies and discord they sowed for the past three years about my family and me I'll make an exception today", he wrote.
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