Mueller report summary is out

By Meg Wagner, Veronica Rocha, Brian Ries and Amanda Wills, CNN
6:21 p.m. ET, March 24, 2019
5:06 p.m. ET, March 24, 2019

President Trump claims vindication

President Trump spoke to reporters for the first time since Attorney General William Barr's letter, saying, "it was just announced there was no collusion with Russia, the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard."

"So after a long look, after a long investigation, after so many people have been so badly hurt, after not looking at the other side where a lot of bad things, a lot of horrible things happened, a lot of very bad things happened for our country, it was just announced there was no collusion with Russia -- the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard. There was no collusion with Russia. There was no obstruction and none whatsoever," Trump said.

Attorney General William Barr and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein decided the evidence was “not sufficient” to support a prosecution of the President for obstruction of justice.

Watch Trump's full statement:

4:46 p.m. ET, March 24, 2019

Here's Trump's first tweet after Congress got the Mueller report summary

President Trump just tweeted this:

Remember: Attorney General William Barr’s chief of staff called White House lawyer Emmet Flood this afternoon to give him a "read out" directly from this four-page summary — but that’s the extent of the conversations between the White House and Department of Justice, according to a Justice official. 

4:38 p.m. ET, March 24, 2019

Trump is expected to speak before leaving West Palm Beach

President Trump's motorcade is headed to the airport right now.

4:36 p.m. ET, March 24, 2019

Trump's lawyer: "The President’s legal team is very pleased"

From CNN's Evan Perez

 

Jay Sekulow, an attorney for President Trump, said the President's legal team is happy with Attorney General William Barr's letter.

“The President’s legal team is very pleased with the letter from the Attorney General." he said.
4:35 p.m. ET, March 24, 2019

Rudy Giuliani: "Why did this ever start in the first place?"

President Trump's attorney Rudy Giuliani told CNN's Wolf Blitzer he thinks special counsel Robert Mueller's report, based on Attorney General William Barr's findings, exonerated the President.

"We think it's a complete exoneration of the President, certainly it's quite clear no collusion of any kind, including the entire Trump campaign, which raises the question, why did this ever start in the first place?" said Giuliani, who was joined on the phone by Trump attorney Jay Sekulow.
4:22 p.m. ET, March 24, 2019

William Barr and Rod Rosenstein — not Mueller —made decision on obstruction

Special counsel Robert Mueller did not make the decision himself on whether to prosecute President Trump on obstruction, the attorney general wrote. Instead, Mueller left it up to Attorney General William Barr and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

Barr and Rosenstein did not find they could bring a criminal case with proof beyond a reasonable doubt that Trump’s actions obstructed a specific proceeding.

Barr notes the “absence of such evidence” related to crimes around the Russian election interference, weighed on his decision regarding obstruction.

Barr explains in the letter that Mueller’s investigation into obstruction of justice found the President’s actions were not “done with corrupt intent.”

“In cataloguing the President’s actions, many of which took place in public view, the report identifies no actions that, in our judgment, constitute obstructive conduct, had a nexus to a pending or contemplated proceeding, and were done with corrupt intent, each of which, under the Department’s principles of federal prosecution guiding charging decisions, would need to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt to establish an obstruction-of-justice offense.”
4:20 p.m. ET, March 24, 2019

Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani: "It's better than I expected"

From CNN's Dana Bash

President Trump's attorney Rudy Giuliani reacted today to Attorney General William Barr's letter about special counsel Robert Mueller's report.

“It’s better than I expected," Giuliani said.

4:20 p.m. ET, March 24, 2019

White House: This is a "total and complete exoneration of the President of the United States"

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said the Department of Justice findings "are a total and complete exoneration of the President of the United States." 

Here's her statement:

"The Special Counsel did not find any collusion and did not find any obstruction. Attorney General Barr and Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein further determined there was no obstruction. The findings of the Department of Justice are a total and complete exoneration of the President of the United States.” 
4:19 p.m. ET, March 24, 2019

GOP congressman: "Our country welcomes this long-overdue conclusion"

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, a Republican from California, issued a statement regarding Attorney General William Barr's letter to Congress, and said it proves "there was no collusion."

He also criticized Democratic leadership for acting "irresponsibly" and said they "threw caution to the wind to damage and distract from the work the Trump administration."

Read McCarthy's full statement:

"Our country welcomes this long-overdue conclusion. After two years, two congressional investigations, and now the closure of a Special Counsel investigation with unfettered authority to investigate ‘any links or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump,’ it is abundantly clear, without a shadow of a doubt, there was no collusion. Furthermore, the nearly unlimited scope, resources, and subpoena power of the Special Counsel has allowed his team to fully pursue any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation. This case is closed.
As we officially close this chapter, it is important for us to learn from the moment. As we look back, Democrat leaders acted irresponsibly and threw caution to the wind to damage and distract from the work the Trump administration is doing on behalf of our fellow citizens. While this conclusion is an embarrassment to those Democrats, it is more discouraging to think of the opportunity costs to our country.
This should be a lesson to my Democrat colleagues that chasing imagined scandals and following a partisan investigatory agenda will not result in any meaningful change for the country. In fact, it will do the opposite. I understand that Democrats today are struggling with their own deep divisions and that it might be easier to attack President Trump than work together for a common cause. But after months upon months of manufactured outrage on this issue, it is time we move on for the good of the nation and focus on the job we were sent to Washington to do: work to address the real challenges facing our country.”