Barr deepens critics' concerns in handling of Mueller report

April FrancisApr 21, 2019

House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler says he expects to issue a subpoena within a few hours for special counsel Robert Mueller's report on Russian election meddling and President Donald Trump. And it says Trump had been agitated by the investigation from the start, reporting that he reacted to Mueller's appointment by saying it was the "end of his presidency".

"Aside from what President Trump did, we want to know what the Russians did, exactly, and how we can stop them from undermining our democracy", Smith added, noting that President Trump will not acknowledge Russian actions during the 2016 election.

Some legal experts echoed that view.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller even offers a quasi-apology for the responses as a lead-in, noting that Trump says he can not remember something more than 30 times in the replies, and going through why Mueller declined to subpoena the president for an in-person interview.

In his report, Mueller focused on a series of actions, including Trump's conduct toward law enforcement officials and witnesses.

In all, Mueller's team said it referred 14 cases to prosecutors in other jurisdictions, including the Cohen case, which was handled by the Southern District of NY. "And it's clear that special counsel Mueller wanted the Congress to consider the repercussions and the consequences".

"There is a wink, and a nod, and another wink to Congress that I have a lot of evidence and now the ball is in your court", said Jessica Levinson, a professor at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles. In a joint statement, the House chairs said "the Special Counsel undoubtedly anticipated" the Congress must assess the evidence.

"The campaign expected it would benefit electorally from information stolen and released through Russian efforts", the report said.

"As I have been saying all along, NO COLLUSION - NO OBSTRUCTION!" the president tweeted as he declared a political victory.

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A spokesman for Mueller declined to comment. "You gotta call Rod, '" the report said.

We knew they were attacked around the time Trump made this statement.

It is unclear whether the Democrats will push on Congressional censure. Some lawmakers will likely continue to press for impeachment proceedings.

In a major relief to President Trump, the almost two-year probe by Mueller found "no evidence" of a "collusion" between the Trump campaign and the Russian government during the 2016 United States elections, Attorney General William Barr announced Thursday. But Mueller did not establish that members of the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government, and he made no conclusion on the question of whether the president obstructed justice. "If we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the President clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state", Mueller wrote.

To prove obstruction, prosecutors must show an individual acted with a "corrupt" or improper motive - a specific intent to impede an investigation. That included the Justice Department's position that a sitting president can't be indicted, the basic tenets of fairness in the American criminal justice system and whether some acts fell within the power of the presidency.

The U.S. Constitution is silent on the question. Mueller's team also investigated whether Trump obstructed justice. The evidence we obtained about the President's actions and intent presents hard issues that prevent us from conclusively determining that no criminal conduct occurred.

The report also provided new details about a meeting that campaign advisers Donald Trump Jr., the president's oldest son, Kushner and Manafort held with a Russian lawyer at New York's Trump Tower in June 2016. The person familiar with his thinking said Barr, who early in his career worked for the CIA, did not mean the word in a pejorative sense and was referring to intelligence collection activities. He said numerous actions that Mueller used as evidence of obstruction were driven by Trump's frustration over the investigation, rather than an attempt to end the investigation.

"(T) here is substantial evidence to show that the president was frustrated and angered by a honest belief that the investigation was undermining his presidency, propelled by his political opponents and fueled by illegal leaks", Barr said.

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