Special Counsel Robert Mueller investigated 10 episodes of possible obstruction, Attorney General William Barr said Thursday, but insisted the president was not guilty of any crime.
While Russia clearly did try to interfere in the 2016 presidential election, Trump's campaign had not colluded, Barr told reporters ahead of the release of the redacted report.
Barr determined that ‘the evidence developed by the special counsel is not sufficient to establish that the president committed an obstruction-of-justice offence.’ No redactions in the Mueller report are based on the White House asserting executive privilege, Barr also said.
The report is based on a 22-month investigation by Mueller, the former director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
Barr said he will make available to ‘a bipartisan group of leaders from several Congressional committees a version of the report with all redactions removed except those relating to grand-jury information,’ trying to head off criticism from Democrats who have called for the full, unredacted version.
‘The president's personal lawyers were not permitted to make, and did not request, any redactions,’ Barr said, though they were shown a redacted version ahead of time.
‘I believe that the publicly released report will allow every American to understand the results of the special counsel's investigation,’ Barr said.
House Judiciary Committee chairman Jerry Nadler said he was ‘deeply troubled’ by reports the White House was being briefed on the report prior to its release.
‘Now, [the Department of Justice] is informing us we will not receive the report until...AFTER Barr's press conference. This is wrong,’ the Democratic congressman added on Twitter.
Barr said he had no objection to letting Mueller testify to Congress, as Democrats have been demanding.
Nadler immediately took Barr up on his offer and announced he was formally requesting that Mueller appear to testify ‘no later than May 23.’ He tweeted a copy of his formal letter.
Trump has tweeted or retweeted more than 10 posts on Thursday morning related to the Mueller report.
Trump bashed the investigation as the ‘Greatest Political Hoax of all time!’ He also accused his rivals from the Democratic Party, including Hillary Clinton, of having committed unspecific crimes, while saying law enforcement was involved.
‘PRESIDENTIAL HARASSMENT!’ Trump tweeted.
Mueller was appointed in 2017 to investigate the meddling and any links to the Trump campaign. The inquiry led to dozens of indictments, including against Russian nationals and several former members of Trump's coterie, such as his campaign manager and lawyer.
However, no US citizen was charged with any form of collusion with Russia.
Barr last month released a four-page summary of the report in which he said Mueller cleared Trump of collusion with the Russian meddling and that no decision had been made with regards to obstruction of justice.
Trump has so far hailed the outcome as vindication.
Democrats in Congress have been upset over the way Barr has handled the report, suggesting he is spinning the Mueller report's conclusions to protect Trump and demanding to see the full version.
Barr has agreed to testify in Congress next month.
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