US: Mueller issues equivocal report, concludes Russia probe
Special counsel Robert Mueller’s findings have failed to implicate US President Donald Trump in collusion with Russia during the 2016 presidential campaigning.
The so-called Russia probe came to an end following the release of a summary of findings by Trump–appointed Attorney General William Barr on Sunday.
“The Special Counsel’s investigation did not find that the Trump campaign or anyone associated with it conspired or coordinated with Russia” regarding the 2016 election, according to the letter.
The special counsel had 19 lawyers, the assistance of about 40 FBI agents and issued over 2,800 subpoenas to investigate alleged Russia intervention in the 2016 presidential election and the Trump team’s collusion with the Kremlin.
The report was vague in handling allegations of obstruction of justice by the president, neither exonerating him nor holding him accountable. As a result, Barr and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein concluded that the “evidence developed…is not sufficient to establish that the president committed an obstruction of justice offense.”
Therefore, Trump appeared before the reporter ahead of boarding Air Force One in Florida, boasting that he has been given “a complete and total exoneration.”
White House Deputy Press Secretary Hogan Gidley also appeared before reporters in Washington to announce that Trump is “in a really good mood.”
“He’s just very happy with how it all turned out,” Gidley said of the president, who has been calling the investigation a “witch hunt” from the get-go.
The president’s friends in Congress rushed to his support after the report failed to draw any practical conclusions after 22 months.
“Attorney General Barr’s statement today should end the debate,” said North Carolina Republican Representative Mark Meadows on Capitol Hill. “There was no collusion. There was no obstruction. It’s over.”
Democrats, who had been waiting for the investigation to conclude, were quick to announce that they will continue with their own probe, conducted as they hold the majority of the seats in the US House of Representatives.
According to top Democrats, Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, the report “raises as many questions as it answers,” adding that Mueller “determined not to make a traditional prosecutorial judgment.”
They concluded that Mueller “did not draw a conclusion — one way or another — as to whether the examined conduct constituted obstruction.”
Democrats had stalled impeachment proceedings, hoping that the probe would endanger Trump’s tenure.
“Impeachment is so divisive to the country that unless there’s something so compelling and overwhelming and bipartisan, I don’t think we should go down that path, because it divides the country,” said Pelosi earlier this month.
That means Democrats will have to wait until the 2020 presidential election to take on Trump.