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'Complete and total exoneration': Trump rejoices in Mueller findings but Democrats want full report published

The US President warmly received the results of the Mueller probe, published last night by Attorney General Bill Barr.

Tweet by @Donald J. Trump Source: Donald J. Trump/Twitter

US PRESIDENT DONALD Trump has declared that he has received a “complete and total exoneration” from the Robert Mueller investigation into Russian collusion into the 2016 presidential election, while Democrats are saying the information released “raises as many questions as it answers”. 

Last night, US Attorney General William Barr wrote to Congress with a summary of Mueller’s report into the affair and said that no Trump campaign official was involved in Russian conspiracies in 2016 to hack Democratic computers and flood social media with disinformation to harm rival Hillary Clinton.

“There was no collusion with Russia. There was no obstruction. It was a complete and total exoneration,” Trump said of Mueller’s conclusions.

“It’s a shame that the country had to go through this,” he added. “This was an illegal takedown that failed.”

However, Barr’s summary of Mueller’s probe indicated that the special counsel had some evidence to support an obstruction case, but was uncertain whether it was enough to support criminal charges. 

“While this report does not conclude that the president committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him,” Barr cited Mueller as saying.

“It is unacceptable that, after Special Counsel Mueller spent 22 months meticulously uncovering this evidence, Attorney General Barr made a decision not to charge the President in under 48 hours,” the Democratic chairs of the House Judiciary, Intelligence and Oversight committees said in a joint statement.

“His unsolicited, open memorandum to the Department of Justice, suggesting that the obstruction investigation was ‘fatally misconceived,’ calls into question his objectivity on this point in particular.”

2020 bid

The results of the probe come as a major boost to the president ahead of his push for re-election next year. 

For years, he’d labelled the investigation a “witch hunt”, even as Mueller’s team issued charges ranging from conspiracy to lying to investigators against 34 individuals.

Six of those were former insiders in Trump’s circle, and five have been convicted, including Trump’s former personal attorney Michael Cohen, his national security advisor Michael Flynn and his campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

Cohen was sentenced to three years in prison for crimes including, at Trump’s alleged instruction, using campaign funds for hush payments to an adult film star who allegedly had an affair with Trump.

And Manafort was imprisoned for 7.5 years, though mostly for crimes unrelated to the campaign.

Despite the release of the findings of the probe, it doesn’t leave the White House in the clear. 

Democrats in Congress are already conducting some 17 investigations of the administration, spreading their net far more broadly than Mueller’s relatively narrow mandate.

They want the full Mueller report and are demanding the underlying evidence supporting his conclusions.

Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Barr’s summary of the Mueller findings “raises as many questions as it answers.” 

“The fact that Special Counsel Mueller’s report does not exonerate the president on a charge as serious as obstruction of justice demonstrates how urgent it is that the full report and underlying documentation be made public without any further delay,” they said.

Democrat Jerry Nadler, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, announced that he would be calling Barr to testify in the near future.

“Special Counsel Mueller clearly and explicitly is not exonerating the president, and we must hear from AG Barr about his decision-making and see all the underlying evidence for the American people to know all the facts,” Nadler said.

With reporting from AFP

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Sean Murray

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