No Russia 'collusion', but Trump 'not exonerated'

Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on March 24, 2019 - Duration: 02:06s

No Russia 'collusion', but Trump 'not exonerated'

Special Counsel Robert Mueller did not find that members of the Trump campaign "conspired or coordinated" with Russia in its efforts to influence the 2016 election, Attorney General William Barr wrote in a letter that was made public on Sunday.

Zachary Goelman reports.

No Russia 'collusion', but Trump 'not exonerated'

A 22-month probe by special counsel Robert Mueller found that Donald Trump's campaign did not conspire or coordinate with Russia to win the 2016 election.

That, according to a summary of findings sent by the Department of Justice to the U.S. Congress on Sunday.

The full-length report by Robert Mueller has yet to be released, but the summary appears to lift a black cloud that has loomed over U.S. President Donald Trump's administration since he took office.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP, SAYING: 'There was no collusion." Trump long denied allegations his campaign conspired with Moscow in 2016 and repeatedly called the investigation a witch hunt.

The summary by U.S. Attorney General William Barr lays out that Mueller found two separate Russian efforts to tilt the election.

One tried to weaponize social media and spread disinformation during the campaign.

Another stole e-mails from Democratic operatives and released them through intermediaries such as WikiLeaks in an effort to harm Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE, SAYING: "Russia, if you're listening, I hope you're able to find the thirty thousand e-mails that are missing.

[FLASH] It's been amazing what's coming out on WikiLeaks." During the race Trump called on Russia to hack Hillary Clinton's e-mails and he praised Wikileaks for publishing damaging documents.

But Mueller found no evidence that members of the Trump campaign colluded with Russia on these efforts, despite "multiple offers from Russian-affiliated individuals to assist" the campaign.

Russia denies interfering in the presidential race.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) "There was no obstruction.

Everybody knows it." As to the question of whether Trump tried to obstruct the investigation into Russia, first by the FBI and later by the special counsel, the findings released Sunday state "while this report does not conclude that the president committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him." Robert Mueller turned the question of obstruction over to Attorney General Barr.

Barr told Congress that after reviewing the evidence and consulting with Deputy A-G Rod Rosenstein, the evidence developed by the special counsel was not sufficient to establish the president committed a crime of obstruction.

Democratic lawmakers have demanded the full Mueller report be released.

And investigations into the president's administration, his business, and his inauguration continue.

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