The Mueller report is out
The Department of Justice released a redacted version of the special counsel Robert Mueller's report moments ago.
CNN is still going through the report, but here are the highlights so far:
- Mueller wasn't able to conclude "no criminal conduct occurred": The investigation was unable to clear the President on obstruction. The report states that the evidence obtained "about the about the President's actions and intent presents difficult issues that prevent us from conclusively determining that no criminal conduct occurred."
- What the Trump campaign knew: The special counsel's investigation into possible collusion found that members of the Trump campaign knew they would benefit from Russia's illegal actions to influence the election, but didn't take criminal steps to help, Robert Mueller's report said.
- Why Mueller didn't subpoena Trump: The special counsel believed it had the authority to subpoena President Trump — but decided against doing so because it would delay the investigation, according to the report. Prosecutors also believed they already had a substantial amount of evidence.
The House Intel Committee has also requested that Robert Mueller testify before them "at the earliest opportunity," Chairman Adam Schiff tweeted out on Thursday morning.
Outside of the Senate Judiciary Committee office, the printers are buzzing.
It’s one of the only sounds on this very quiet day in Dirksen Senate Office Building. Members are on recess and there are some murmurs or staff conversations from down the hall. Otherwise, just the sound of printing as Washington learns what is inside this redacted report.
Special counsel Robert Mueller's team referred 14 investigations to other US attorney's offices, including the prosecution of Trump's former attorney Michael Cohen and Greg Craig, the Skadden Arps attorney who was indicted for lying to DOJ about work he had done for the Ukraine Ministry of Justice.
The other 12 investigations are redacted.
About some of the investigations:
- Michael Cohen: He was sentenced to three years in prison by a federal judge. Cohen pleaded guilty to evading taxes from his personal business ventures, violating campaign finance laws at the direction of candidate Donald Trump, and lying to Congress about efforts to build a Trump Tower in Russia during the campaign. Most of the charges were brought by federal prosecutors in Manhattan after a referral from special counsel Robert Mueller.
- Greg Craig: A prominent Democratic lawyer and former White House counsel in the Obama administration, Craig was indicted in a case that was referred to other prosecutors by special counsel Robert Mueller. He was charged with lying to the Justice Department and concealing information about work he performed for the Ukrainian government in 2012. Craig’s involvement in the Ukraine project was arranged by Paul Manafort, who later became Donald Trump's campaign chairman. Craig's lawyers called the indictment "unfair and misleading."
More on the other investigations into Trump's world:
The special counsel believed it had the authority to subpoena President Trump, but decided against doing so because it would delay the investigation, according to the report. The prosecutors also believed they already had a substantial amount of evidence.
"We made the decision in view of the substantial delay that such an investigative step would likely produce at a late stage in our investigation" special counsel wrote in the report. "We had sufficient evidence to understand relevant events and to make certain assessments without the President's testimony."
The report also says that while the Office of Legal Council opinion concludes that a sitting president may not be prosecuted, "It recognizes that a criminal investigation during a President’s term is permissible."
The OLC opinion "also recognizes that a President does not have immunity after he leaves office," the report says.
In his evaluation of whether President Trump obstructed justice, special counsel Robert Mueller looked at a number of issues and areas involving the President and his aides focused on whether they were attempting to curtail the investigation.
Those areas include: The Trump campaign's response to reports about Russian support for Trump and conduct involving FBI Director James Comey and former national security adviser Michael Flynn.
Mueller’s report says that after the election, “the President expressed concerns to advisors that reports of Russia’s election interference might lead the public to question the legitimacy of his election.”
Other areas that Mueller probed: The President's reaction to the continuing Russia investigation; the firing of FBI director James Comey; the appointment of the Special Counsel and efforts to remove him; efforts to curtail the special counsel; efforts to prevent public disclosure of evidence; further efforts to have attorney general Jeff Sessions take control of investigation; efforts to have White House counsel Don McGahn deny that the President ordered him to have Mueller removed; conduct towards Flynn and former campaign chairman Paul Manafort; and conduct toward former Trump personal lawyer Michael Cohen.
President Trump's lawyers just sent out a statement following following the release of the redacted version of Robert Mueller's report.
The described the investigation as a "total victory for the President."
"This vindication of the President is an important step forward for the country and a strong reminder that this type of abuse must never be permitted to occur again," they said.
Read the full statement:
"The results of the investigation are a total victory for the President. The report underscores what we have argued from the very beginning - there was no collusion - there was no obstruction. After a 17-month investigation, testimony from some 500 witnesses, the issuance of 2,800 subpoenas, the execution of nearly 500 search warrants, early morning raids, the examination of more than 1.4 million pages of documents, and the unprecedented cooperation of the President, it is clear there was no criminal wrongdoing. Nothing withheld; nothing concealed; nothing deleted; nothing destroyed; and nothing bleached. In addition to the report completely vindicating the President, both Attorney General Bill Barr and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein - working with the career professionals in the Office of Legal Counsel - concluded there was not a single instance in which the elements of any crime were met.
It is also clear that the President acted properly in firing now-disgraced, former FBI Director James Comey who lied and displayed disdain for the values at the core of the FBI. It is troubling that Comey - and top members of his team - launched a biased, political attack against the President - turning one of our foundational legal standards on its head. Instead of protecting the time-honored principle that the President - as with any American - is innocent until proven guilty, they clearly set up a scheme to derail the President - pushing a twisted narrative claiming he was guilty until proven innocent. The report itself is nothing more than an attempt to rehash old allegations, despite the fact that, as reiterated in the Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General's recent report on the 2016 election 'neither the FBI nor Department prosecutors are permitted to insinuate or allege that an individual who has not been charged with a crime is nevertheless guilty of some wrongdoing.'
This vindication of the President is an important step forward for the country and a strong reminder that this type of abuse must never be permitted to occur again."
President Donald Trump said Thursday that he’s having a good day, following Attorney General Bill Barr’s news conference ahead of the release of the Mueller report.
“They’re having a good day. I’m having a good day, too. It was called no collusion. No obstruction,” Trump said to cheers at a Wounded Warriors event at the White House.
He continued: "There never was by the way and there never will be. And we do have to get to the bottom of these things I will say. This should’ve never happened … I say this in front of my friends, this should never happen to another president again. This hoax — it should never happen again. Thank you."
The redacted version of the Robert Mueller report has been delivered to the House and Senate Judiciary committees on Capitol Hill.