Mueller report lifts dark cloud over Trump's presidency, may energise his base

Mueller report lifts dark cloud over Trump's presidency, may energise his base

Kerry Wise
March 26, 2019

Barr's letter explains that Mueller's team looked at the two big efforts by Russian entities to meddle with the election outcome-both the secret, concealed campaign to spread discord and misinformation on the internet, and the hacking operations that gathered secret Democratic Party emails and communications within Hillary Clinton's campaign-and found no involvement from Trump or people on his campaign.

Either way, Mr Mueller's investigation has taken its toll on this presidency, leading to indictments, convictions or guilty pleas for a half-dozen of Trump's associates, including his campaign chairman and national security adviser, and spawning offshoot investigations.

Take, for example, the headline of an email from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in which the Kentucky Republican's office asserts, "Special Counsel Confirms No Collusion Between Trump Campaign and Russian Federation". Democrats are demanding to see his full report. "This was an illegal takedown that failed".

"It's a shame that the country had to go through this", he added.

The Special Counsel took up the question after Trump fired FBI Director James Comey over the Russian Federation investigation and after Comey claimed that Trump had asked him to stop investigating his former national security advisor, Michael Flynn.

Mueller did not reach a conclusion on whether Trump broke the law by interfering with probes into the 2016 election and left Barr to make a decision.

"Congress requires the full report and the underlying documents so that the Committees can proceed with their independent work, including oversight and legislating to address any issues the Mueller report may raise", the Democratic leaders said.

Mr Mueller, who spent almost two years investigating allegations that Russian Federation meddled in the 2016 election to help Mr Trump defeat his Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton, concluded his investigation on Friday after almost two years.

Democrats like Sam Skardon of Charleston, South Carolina, said they wanted to see the full report, not just the summary presented by Barr, a recent Trump appointee.

The unending probe saw Trump frequently angrily attacking Mueller - one of the most respected members of Washington's judicial and prosecutorial elite - and at times appeared to throw his policy momentum off course. After lengthy negotiations, Trump reversed his previous stance that he would be willing to submit to an in-person interview with the Mueller team, ultimately agreeing only to provide written answers.

PM statement on the New Zealand attack: 15 March 2019
Facebook said, that having been alerted by police, it had deleted the gunman's accounts "shortly after the livestream commenced". Twitter and Google, which owns YouTube, say they're working to remove any video of the shootings from their sites, as well.

None of those charges, however, directly related to whether Mr Trump's campaign worked with Moscow.

U.S. intelligence agencies alleged Moscow had meddled in the presidential election with a campaign of email hacking and online propaganda aimed at planting doubt in the United States.

"It was complete and total exoneration", Trump told reporters in Florida before returning to Washington Sunday afternoon.

"This is very good!"

"The whole objective of appointing a special counsel is to insulate the decision-maker from the conflicts of interest inherent to anyone in the executive branch chain of command", she said. Now, the President who routinely assailed Mr Mueller and his "13 Angry Democrats" for their "witch hunt" will surely use the results of the special counsel investigation to dismiss all others as part of a pattern of conspiracy mongering and vindictive persecution, whatever the facts may or may not show.

The ranking Republican on the House Oversight Committee, Rep. Jim Jordan of OH, said on "This Week" that Democrats had asserted that Mueller was "right next to Jesus and can walk on water" but that "all indications are that there's not going to be any finding of any collusion whatsoever".

According to Barr, Mueller delegated the exoneration decision to the attorney general's office.

The source said the sensitive discussions between Justice Department officials and the special counsel team, and the determination that a subpoena would not be pursued, were based on the perception of the evidence and merits of the issues - separate and apart from the fact that current department policy dictates that a sitting president can not be indicted.

Still, Trump's closest allies were delighted. Democrats are sweeping beyond the Russian Federation probe into the president's potential conflicts - his tax returns, financial dealings, Trump Hotel - in the tangled intersection of business and politics.