Attorney General William Barr just wrapped up his news conference on special counsel Robert Mueller's report and legal analyst Elie Honig examined his prepared remarks.
Here's what Honig found:
On the hacking, the bar here is did they participate in the hacking effort? This line of the conspiracy is up to the prosecutor, and this is very narrowly defined. We will have to see what Mueller says about efforts to receive and publish the information once hacked, which may not have been seen as criminal but could be problematic from a legal and ethical standpoint.
Under applicable law, publication of these types of materials would not be criminal unless the publisher also participated in the underlying hacking conspiracy. Here, too, the special counsel’s report did not find that any person associated with the Trump campaign illegally participated in the dissemination of the materials.
The first hint that Barr and Mueller did not approach obstruction in the same manner. Barr says he accepted the framework from Mueller, nonetheless, but it was not solely the basis of Barr and Rosenstein’s ultimate decision.
Although the Deputy Attorney General and I disagreed with some of the special counsel’s legal theories and felt that some of the episodes examined did not amount to obstruction as a matter of law, we did not rely solely on that in making our decision. Instead, we accepted the special counsel’s legal framework for purposes of our analysis and evaluated the evidence as presented by the special counsel in reaching our conclusion.
This is a debatable premise to negate the idea of obstruction. In fact, it could be argued this would speak to motive for obstruction.
And as the special counsel’s report acknowledges, there is substantial evidence to show that the President was frustrated and angered by a sincere belief that the investigation was undermining his presidency, propelled by his political opponents, and fueled by illegal leaks.