Special counsel Robert Mueller’s report states evidence does not show that the firing of FBI Director James Comey was done as an effort to cover-up conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia during the 2016 presidential election.
The report indicates there is “substantial evidence” that the president terminated Comey due to his “unwillingness to publicly state that the president was not personally under investigation.”
The Justice Department on Thursday released the long-awaited report by Mueller, with redactions, which specifies the two-year investigation and details that the team found no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia before the 2016 election.
The report, in total, is 448 pages long. It describes in detail how the Russian GRU intelligence unit hacked campaign emails of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, which were subsequently leaked by WikiLeaks. It also specifies there were some links between Russia and the Trump campaign.
“The investigation … identified numerous links between the Russian government and the Trump campaign,” the report states. “Although the investigation established that the Russian government perceived it would benefit from a Trump presidency … the investigation did not establish that members of the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election activities.”
Attorney General William Barr previewed the report immediately before its release, emphasizing there was no cooperation. Echoing the summary he gave last month, Barr said the investigation found the Russian Internet Research Agency spread disinformation on social media “designed to provoke and amplify political and social discord in the United States.”
“By the end of the 2016 U.S. election, the IRA had the ability to reach millions of U.S. persons through their social media accounts,” the report says. “Multiple IRA-controlled Facebook groups and Instagram accounts had hundreds of thousands of U.S. participants.”
It said the IRA staged political rallies inside the United States by posing as U.S. grassroots entities, many of whom made contact with Trump supporters and campaign officials.
Barr released the report to high-ranking members of Congress and then the public. He said, in fact, no Americans colluded with Russians to sway the election. On the issue of whether President Donald Trump obstructed justice in any way, the report said it couldn’t clear him. It identifies 10 episodes where the president possibly could have obstructed justice.
“In consultation with the Office of Legal Counsel and other department lawyers, the deputy attorney general and I concluded the evidence developed by the special counsel is not sufficient to establish that the president committed an obstruction of justice offence,” Barr said.
He added that Trump was frustrated that the Mueller investigation was “undermining his presidency” but emphasized that the White House fully cooperated.
In response to the report, Trump tweeted a graphic that said, “Game Over,” in a style from the HBO drama Game of Thrones.
Democrat leaders are now calling for Mueller to testify in Congress “as soon as possible,” a joint statement from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said. They said Barr’s handling of the report has created a “crisis of confidence in his independence and impartiality.” Pelosi later tweeted she’s concerned Trump’s team had a preview of the report.
The UPI contributed to this report.