US Lawmakers Spar as Mueller Report is Released

The hours leading up to the release of special counsel Robert Mueller’s redacted Russia report on Thursday morning saw Democratic lawmakers underscore demands and objections, prompting accusations by Republicans that Democrats were continuing baseless partisan warfare against President Donald Trump.

As Attorney General William Barr gave a news conference to preview the report he subsequently sent to Capitol Hill and then released to the public — stressing that Trump’s inner circle had been cleared of collusion with Russia — the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee released a letter requesting that Mueller testify before the panel “as soon as possible.”

“It is clear Congress and the American people must hear from Special Counsel Robert Mueller in person to better understand his findings,” New York Democrat Jerry Nadler tweeted.

As Democrats escalated their outrage over Barr’s handling of the release of the long-anticipated Mueller report, it was clear that the partisan controversy over the the special counsel’s findings would mar relations between Congress and the White House well into the 2020 campaign season.

Democratic Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon, meanwhile, accused the attorney general of performing public relations duties for the White House by opining on the special counsel’s report ahead of its release.

“AG Barr proved beyond a doubt he is here to defend Trump at all costs, facts be damned. This kind of spin is unworthy of an Attorney General,” Wyden wrote on Twitter. “Every member of Congress needs to see the whole, unredacted report along with all underlying materials. And the materials must be provided to Congress so that members and staff can review them and provide a check on the abuse of the redaction process.”

Republicans were quick to dismiss Democrats’ ire.

“My Democrat colleagues are doing a lot of table pounding today. Because they don’t have the facts. There was no collusion. It’s over,” Rep. Mark Meadows, a North Carolina Republican, tweeted. “They’ll continue selling this hoax. Even when none of the classified evidence they’ve been promising appears to exist. Treat their spin with the skepticism it deserves.”

That view was echoed by the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee.

“No collusion. No obstruction,” Georgia Rep. Doug Collins said on Twitter. “No executive privilege asserted. No redactions proposed or made by anyone outside DOJ [Department of Justice]. No one outside DOJ viewed unredacted report. No cover up when there’s nothing to cover up.”

One lawmaker took a wait-and-see approach to the Mueller report.

“I will withhold my judgment on the Mueller report until I’ve been able to review the document,“ independent Maine Senator Angus King tweeted. “[B]ut the pointed political tone of today’s press conference did not match the transparent, objective approach needed to restore the American people’s faith in our justice system.’


Trump Attacks Mueller Probe Ahead of Public Release of Findings

U.S. President Donald Trump launched an 11th hour attack Thursday on special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into his 2016 campaign’s contacts with Russia and potential obstruction of justice shortly before the prosecutor’s nearly 400-page redacted report is being sent to Congress and disclosed to the American public.

The U.S. leader, on Twitter, called Mueller’s 22-month investigation “The Greatest Political Hoax of all time!” and in a second all-caps tweet claimed it was “PRESIDENTIAL HARASSMENT!”

As he often has, Trump contended that “crimes were committed” not by him, but by his 2016 opponent, Democrat Hillary Clinton, other opposition Democrats and “Dirty Cops,” his derogatory description of high-level law enforcement officials he claims were scheming to keep him from becoming the 45th U.S. president.

“You’ll see a lot of very strong things come out” in the report, Trump told a radio interviewer on Wednesday.

Attorney General William Barr is set to comment publicly about Mueller’s report early in the day before copies of it are sent a short time later to Congress and then posted online.

Congress and the American people will for the first time see for themselves in detail what Mueller examined as he and his team of federal investigators and prosecutors worked to determine whether Trump’s campaign or its associates worked with Russia to help him defeat Clinton, the former secretary of state.  In addition, Mueller probed whether Trump sought to thwart the probe.

Late last month, in a summary of Mueller’s findings, Barr said the special counsel had concluded that Trump had not colluded with Russia, but reached no decision on whether he had obstructed justice. With Mueller not making a decision on the obstruction issue, Barr said he and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein decided that no obstruction charges against Trump were warranted.

Barr has redacted sensitive portions of the report that came from secret grand jury testimony or U.S. intelligence sources, but officials said the section on obstruction was only “lightly redacted,” likely leaving a detailed examination of Trump’s public tweets and the private actions he was suspected of taking to undermine the Mueller probe. News accounts say that Mueller was stymied in deciding whether Trump obstructed justice because he could not always determine the intent of his remarks and actions after assuming power in January 2017.

Opposition Democrats protested that Barr was holding a news conference before the report was made public, saying it was an attempt to spin  Mueller’s findings into a favorable view of Trump’s role.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Charles Schumer said in a statement they “believe the only way to begin restoring public trust in the handling” of the Mueller investigation was for Mueller himself to testify publicly before congressional panels “as soon as possible.”

Trump answered questions in writing during the investigation but did not face Mueller’s prosecutors face to face, with Mueller and the White House unable to reach an agreement for Trump’s live testimony.

U.S. intelligence agencies in early 2017 assessed that Russia, at the direction of President Vladimir Putin, carried out a campaign to undermine the U.S. vote and had a clear preference for Trump to win..

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler said Wednesday that assuming the report is heavily redacted, his committee would “most certainly” issue subpoenas to demand the full report “in very short order.”

Barr will be joined at his news conference by Rosenstein, who for much of the Mueller investigation oversaw the probe at the Department of Justice.  No one from Mueller’s team will take part in the briefing.

Trump said Wednesday he was considering holding his own news conference Thursday.  

Nadler and the heads of other key House committees strongly objected to the way the report’s release is being handled, saying Barr’s media appearance is “unnecessary and inappropriate, and appears designed to shape public perceptions of the report before anyone can read it.”

They called for Barr to cancel his news conference.  But Georgia Congressman Doug Collins, the ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee, defended Barr, accusing Democrats of “trying to spin the report.”

Whatever Congress and the public learn Thursday, the issues covered in the report are certain to endure in U.S. political discourse in the short-term, with Barr scheduled to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee on May 1, followed by an appearance before the House Judiciary Committee the next day.  

Nadler, a New York Democrat,  has also said he will “probably find it useful” to call Mueller and his team to testify before his committee.  

Looking to the longer-term, it is highly unlikely the investigation will fade to irrelevance before the next presidential election in November 2020.

In one measure of public demand for the information, several publishers are offering people the ability to purchase printed copies of the report, and pre-orders alone on Amazon’s website ranked among its top 100 in book sales before the report was released.

What have long been public are the legal ramifications of Mueller’s probe.

Some Trump campaign associates pleaded guilty or were convicted of a range of offenses, some for lying about their contacts with Russians during the 2016 campaign or just before he took office in January 2017 and some for offenses unrelated to Trump.

In addition, Mueller also charged 13 Russian nationals with trying to influence the 2016 election by tricking Americans into following fake social media accounts with material favorable to Trump and against his opponent, Clinton.  Another dozen Russian military intelligence officers were charged with the theft of emails from Democrat Party officials. None of the Russians is ever likely to face a trial in the United States because the two countries do not have an extradition treaty.


Key Trump Associates Indicted in Mueller Probe

Several key figures associated with President Donald Trump have pleaded guilty or were convicted of a range of offenses as part of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe:

Paul Manafort: Trump’s 2016 campaign chairman is in the early stages of a 7 1/2-year prison term after being convicted and pleading guilty in two cases linked to financial corruption from his years of lobbying for pro-Russian interests in Ukraine.

Michael Flynn: Trump’s first national security adviser pleaded guilty to lying to investigators about his contacts with Russia’s then-ambassador to Washington, Sergey Kislyak, just before Trump assumed power, and is awaiting sentencing.

George Papadopoulos: The  low-level foreign affairs adviser was jailed for 12 days after he pleaded guilty to lying to investigators about his Russia contacts.

Rick Gates:  A business associate of Manafort’s and his deputy on the Trump campaign, Gates was a key witness against Manafort at his trial, after pleading guilty to conspiring with him in financial wrongdoing from their years as lobbyists for Ukraine. He is awaiting sentencing.

Michael Cohen: Trump’s one-time personal attorney pleaded guilty to helping Trump make $280,000 in hush money payments to two women, an adult film actress and a Playboy model, to keep them quiet before the 2016 election about alleged decade-old sexual encounters they claimed to have had with Trump. Cohen, headed soon to prison for a three-year term, also admitted lying to Congress about the extent of Trump’s efforts during the 2016 campaign to build a Trump skyscraper in Moscow, a time when candidate Trump was telling voters he had ended his Russian business ventures.

Roger Stone: The long-time Trump adviser and friend is awaiting trial on charges that he lied to Congress about his contacts with the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks in conjunction with the release of emails hacked by Russian operatives from the computers of Democratic officials that were damaging to Trump’s 2016 opponent, Hillary Clinton.

 


Trump Sees Sanders Beating Biden for Democratic Party Nomination  

It’s more than 18 months until Americans vote again for president. But the incumbent is already publicly sizing up some of his potential opponents.

President Donald Trump has his eye on the expanding list of Democrats running to beat him in next year’s election. 

Speaking Wednesday to David Webb of the Patriot channel on the Sirius XM satellite radio platform, Trump said Senator Bernie Sanders seems to “have the most spirit” among the pack of Democrats, while former Vice President Joe Biden will likely struggle to gain the nomination. 

“It could be Bernie. It could be Biden. And I think Sleepy Joe is going to have a hard time. He’s, you know, 1 percent Joe. I don’t think he’s going to make it,” Trump said.

Trump also said he’d like to run against the “mayor from Indiana,” a reference to 37-year-old Pete Buttigieg, who would make history as not only the youngest but the first openly gay U.S. president. 


US Attorney General, Deputy to Discuss Mueller Report in News Conference

U.S. Attorney General William Barr and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein will hold a news conference Thursday morning regarding special counsel Robert Mueller’s report, the Justice Department announced. 

Barr also plans to release a redacted version Thursday of the nearly 400-page report by Mueller on Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. election that was aimed at helping Donald Trump win the presidency.

In a radio interview Wednesday, Trump floated the idea that he, too, may hold a news conference. “Attorney General Barr is going to be giving a press conference, maybe I’ll do one after that, we’ll see,” Trump said in an interview with WMAL Radio’s Larry O’Connor.

Mueller investigated the Trump campaign’s contacts with Russia and whether Trump, as president, obstructed justice by trying to thwart the probe. Sparring over the report in advance of its release is rampant.

Barr released a four-page summary of Mueller’s findings three weeks ago, saying the prosecutor had concluded that Trump and his campaign did not collude with Russia to help him win but had reached no conclusion about whether Trump obstructed justice. But with Mueller not reaching a decision on the obstruction issue, Barr and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein decided no obstruction charges against Trump were warranted.

Also Wednesday, The New York Times reported that White House lawyers have had numerous conversations with Justice Department officials about the report. The Times, quoting unnamed sources, said the conversations have helped the White House prepare its rebuttal and strategize its response.

The Justice Department and the White House declined to comment on the report.

 


AP-NORC Poll: Many Aren’t Exonerating Trump in Russia Probe

Many Americans aren’t ready to clear President Donald Trump in the Russia investigation, with a new poll showing slightly more want Congress to keep investigating than to set aside its probes after a special counsel’s report left open the question of whether he broke the law.

About 6 in 10 continue to believe the president obstructed justice.

 

The poll by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research also finds greater GOP confidence in the investigation after Attorney General William Barr in late March released his letter saying special counsel Robert Mueller found no criminal conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia but didn’t make a judgment on the obstruction question.

 

At the same time, the poll indicates that Americans are mostly unhappy with the amount of information that has been released so far. They’ll get more Thursday, when Barr is expected to release a redacted version of the nearly 400-page report.

 

Trump has repeatedly claimed “total exoneration,” after Barr asserted in his memo that there was insufficient evidence for an obstruction prosecution.

 

“It’s a total phony,” Trump said of all allegations to Minneapolis TV station KSTP this week. “Any aspect of that report, I hope it does come out because there was no collusion, whatsoever, no collusion. There was no obstruction, because that was ruled by the attorney general.”

 

Overall, 39 percent of Americans approve of the job Trump is doing as president, roughly unchanged from mid-March, before Mueller completed his two-year investigation.

 

But many Americans still have questions.

 

“It’s kind of hard to believe what the president says as far as exoneration,” said James Brown, 77, of Philadelphia, who doesn’t affiliate with either party but says his political views lean conservative. “And in my mind the attorney general is a Trump person, so he’s not going to do anything against Trump.”

 

The poll shows 35 percent of Americans think that Trump did something illegal related to Russia — largely unchanged since the earlier poll. An additional 34 percent think he’s done something unethical.

 

Brown says he remains extremely concerned about possible inappropriate contacts between the Trump campaign and Russia, citing Trump’s past interest in building a Trump Tower in Moscow, and believes the president committed crimes of obstruction to cover up financial interests. “He’s not going to jeopardize his pocketbook for anything,” he said.

 

Still, the poll suggests Barr’s summary helped allay some lingering doubts within the GOP. Among Republicans, more now say Trump did nothing wrong at all (65 percent vs. 55 percent a month ago) and fewer say he did something unethical (27 percent, down from 37 percent).

 

Glen Sebring, 56, of Chico, California, says he thinks the nation should put the Russia investigations to rest after reading Barr’s four-page summary of the Mueller report. The moderate Republican credits Trump with helping to “double the money” he’s now earning due to an improving economy and says Congress should spend more time on issues such as lowering health care costs.

 

“It’s like beating a dead horse,” Sebring said. “We’ve got a lot more important things to worry about.”

 

Even as Trump blasts the Mueller probe as a Democratic witch hunt, poll respondents expressed more confidence that the investigation was impartial. The growing confidence since March was driven by Republicans: Three-quarters now say they are at least moderately confident in the probe, and 38 percent are very or extremely confident, up from 46 percent and 18 percent, respectively, in March. Among Democrats, about 70 percent are at least moderately confident, down slightly from a month ago, and 45 percent are very or extremely confident.

 

Still, majorities of Americans say they believe the Justice Department has shared too few details so far with both the public (61 percent) and Congress (55 percent). About a third think the department has shared too little with the White House, which has argued that portions of the report should be kept confidential if they involve private conversations of the president subject to executive privilege.

 

Democrats have been calling for Mueller himself to testify before Congress and have expressed concern that Barr will order unnecessary censoring of the report to protect Trump. The House Judiciary Committee, led by Rep. Jerrold Nadler of New York, is poised to try to compel Barr to turn over an unredacted copy as well as the report’s underlying investigative files.

 

The poll shows that even with the Mueller probe complete, 53 percent say Congress should continue to investigate Trump’s ties with Russia, while 45 percent say Congress should not. A similar percentage, 53 percent, say Congress should take steps to impeach Trump if he is found to have obstructed justice, even if he did not have inappropriate contacts with Russia.

 

“We don’t even know what we found yet in the probe. Until we do, Congress should definitely continue to push this issue,” said Tina Perales, a 35-year-old small business owner in Norton, Ohio, who describes herself as Republican. “That little letter Barr sent out summarizing the report I think was completely BS. This Mueller thing is hundreds of pages, and he just sums it up like this? These things just don’t add up.”

 

Deep partisan divisions remain.

 

Democrats were much more likely than Republicans to believe Trump had done something improper and to support continued investigations that could lead to his removal from office. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has downplayed the likelihood of impeachment proceedings but isn’t closing the door entirely if there are significant findings of Trump misconduct.

 

On investigations, 84 percent of Democrats believe lawmakers shouldn’t let up in scrutinizing Trump’s ties to Russia, but the same share of Republicans disagrees. Similarly, 83 percent of Democrats say Congress should take steps to impeach Trump if he is found to have obstructed justice, even if he did not have inappropriate contacts with Russia, while 82 percent of Republicans say Congress should not.

 

The AP-NORC poll of 1,108 adults was conducted April 11-14 using a sample drawn from NORC’s probability-based AmeriSpeak Panel, which is designed to be representative of the U.S. population. The margin of sampling error for all respondents is plus or minus 4.1 percentage points. Respondents were first selected randomly using address-based sampling methods, and later interviewed online or by phone.

 

 

 

 


Trump Vetoes Measure to End US Involvement in Yemen War

President Donald Trump on Wednesday vetoed a bill passed by Congress to end U.S. military assistance in Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen.

In a break with the president, Congress voted for the first time earlier this month to invoke the War Powers Resolution to try to stop U.S. involvement in a foreign conflict.

The veto — the second in Trump’s presidency — was expected. Congress lacks the votes to override him.

“This resolution is an unnecessary, dangerous attempt to weaken my constitutional authorities, endangering the lives of American citizens and brave service members, both today and in the future,” Trump wrote in explaining his veto.

Congress has grown uneasy with Trump’s close relationship with Saudi Arabia as he tries to further isolate Iran, a regional rival.

Many lawmakers also criticized the president for not condemning Saudi Arabia for the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi who lived in the United States and had written critically about the kingdom. Khashoggi went into the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last October and never came out. Intelligence agencies said Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was complicit in the killing.

The U.S. provides billions of dollars of arms to the Saudi-led coalition fighting against Iran-backed rebels in Yemen. Members of Congress have expressed concern about the thousands of civilians killed in coalition airstrikes since the conflict began in 2014. The fighting in the Arab world’s poorest country also has left millions suffering from food and medical care shortages and has pushed the country to the brink of famine.

House approval of the resolution came earlier this month on a 247-175 vote. The Senate vote last month was 54-46.

Democratic Rep. Eliot Engel of New York, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, voted to end U.S. military assistance to the war, saying the humanitarian crisis in Yemen triggered “demands moral leadership.”

The top Republican on the committee, Rep. Michael McCaul of Texas, acknowledged the dire situation in Yemen for civilians, but spoke out in opposition to the bill. McCaul said it was an abuse of the War Powers Resolution and predicted it could disrupt U.S. security cooperation agreements with more than 100 countries.

Trump issued his first veto last month on legislation related to immigration. Trump had declared a national emergency so he could use more money to construct a border wall. Congress voted to block the emergency declaration and Trump vetoed that measure.


What You Won’t See in the Mueller Report

The special counsel’s Trump-Russia report will be out on Thursday for all to see. But not all of it.

 

The Democrats’ demands for a full, unredacted version of Robert Mueller’s report are likely to prompt a political and legal battle that could last for months, if not much longer.

 

The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, New York Rep. Jerrold Nadler, has said he is prepared to issue subpoenas “very quickly” for the full report on Russia and Donald Trump’s presidential campaign if it is released with blacked-out sections. And that would set the legal fight in motion.

 

Attorney General William Barr has said he is redacting four types of information from the report, which the Justice Department says will be released Thursday. Congressional Democrats cite precedent from previous investigations in saying they want to see it all. But some Republicans defending Barr are also citing precedent, saying it is appropriate to keep at least some of the information from Congress and the public.

 

A look at what types of material Barr is redacting, and why Democrats say it should be released:

 

Grand Jury Information

 

Barr has staked out his position on releasing secret grand jury information, saying last week that he would not go to court to request its release. He said Democrats are “free to go to court” themselves, and Nadler has said he is ready to do so.

 

Grand jury information, including witness interviews, is normally off limits but can be obtained in court. Some records were eventually released in the Whitewater investigation into former President Bill Clinton and an investigation into President Richard Nixon before he resigned.

 

Both of those cases were under somewhat different circumstances, including that the House Judiciary Committee had initiated impeachment proceedings. Federal court rules state that a court may order disclosure “preliminary to or in connection with a judicial proceeding.”

 

But Democrats have said they are not interested in impeachment, for now, and are likely to argue in court that they don’t need to be in an official impeachment proceeding to receive the materials.

 

Classified Information

 

Congress frequently receives classified documents and briefings, and Democrats say there is no reason the Mueller report should be any different.

 

Many Republicans agree, including the top Republican on the intelligence committee, California Rep. Devin Nunes, who wrote a rare joint letter in March with House intelligence committee Chairman Adam Schiff asking for “all materials, regardless of form or classification.” In the letter, which was obtained by The Associated Press, Schiff and Nunes also asked for a private briefing from Mueller and his team.

 

Democrat Schiff has argued that some of that information should be released to the public, as well, citing Mueller indictments that have already revealed granular detail about the Russian effort to influence the 2016 election.

 

“All of that information at one point was classified, but the decision must have been made the public interest outweighs that. And I think a similar analysis should be undertaken here,” Schiff said on CNN this month.

 

Ongoing Investigations

 

Barr said he will redact information related to investigations connected to the Mueller probe that are still underway. Those include cases handed off or referred to federal prosecutors in Washington, New York and Virginia.

 

Democrats have noted that the Justice Department has released such information before, including some related to Mueller’s own investigation while it was in progress. Republicans who were in the House majority last year, obtained documents related to the beginnings of the Russia investigation, arguing that officials were biased against then-candidate Trump.

 

Republicans argued at the time that it was necessary to obtain that information to maintain the integrity of the investigation.

Derogatory Information

 

The Justice Department regularly redacts information about people who were interviewed or scrutinized in investigations but not charged. Barr has said he will black out information from the report “that would unduly infringe on the personal privacy and reputational interests of peripheral third parties.”

 

Asked by Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., at a hearing last week if that meant he would redact information to protect the interests of Trump, Barr said it did not. “No, I’m talking about people in private life, not public officeholders,” Barr said.

 

That means that in addition to Trump, members of his family who work at the White House, such as his daughter Ivanka, could potentially be named if they were somehow entangled in Mueller’s investigation. But any information regarding his sons, Eric and Donald Trump Jr., who run his businesses, could be more likely to be redacted.

 

The Justice Department did release information about the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email practices more than two years ago, even though Clinton wasn’t charged. But that was after then-FBI Director James Comey made the much-questioned decision to publicly discuss that investigation. Barr signaled in his confirmation hearing in January that he would do things differently.

 

“If you’re not going to indict someone, then you don’t stand up there and unload negative information about the person,” Barr said. “That’s not the way the Department of Justice does business.”


Omar Raises $830,000 for Re-Election Despite Trump Backlash

U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar, who’s engaged in an intensifying feud with President Donald Trump, has raised nearly $830,000 in the first quarter for her re-election campaign, according to campaign finance reports filed this week.

 

The Minnesota Democrat — a Somali American and one of the first Muslim women elected to Congress — drew many out-of-state contributions and had just over $600,000 cash on hand as of March 31.

 

Omar won election in November to a reliably liberal Minneapolis-area seat. Her remarks in recent months on Israel and the power of Jewish influence in Washington have drawn intense criticism and accusations of anti-Semitism, and prompted speculation that she might face a primary challenge. But no challenger has emerged, and progressives across the country have rallied to her side.

 

Trump told KSTP-TV during a visit to Minnesota on Monday that he has no regrets about tweeting a video Friday that attacked her for remarks she made last month that supposedly offered a flippant description of the Sept. 11 attacks and the terrorists who killed nearly 3,000 people.

 

“Look, she’s been very disrespectful to this country,” Trump said. “She’s been very disrespectful, frankly, to Israel…. She’s got a way about her that’s very, very bad, I think, for our country. I think she’s extremely unpatriotic and extremely disrespectful to our country.”

 

Neither Trump’s tweet nor the video included Omar’s full quote or the context. She told the Council on American-Islamic Relations on March 23 that many Muslims saw their civil liberties eroded after the Sept. 11 attacks and were tired of being treated as second-class citizens.

 

“CAIR was founded after 9/11, because they recognized that some people did something and that all of us were starting to lose access to our civil liberties,” she said. While CAIR was founded in 1994, according to its website, its membership skyrocketed after the attacks.

 

Omar said Sunday that it’s more than a rhetorical squabble and that lives, including hers, are at stake. She spoke after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she has taken steps to ensure Omar’s safety. Pelosi also urged Trump to take down the video, but it was still in his Twitter feed Tuesday.


Trump Slams Democrats, ‘Dirty Cops’ Ahead of Mueller Report Release

The U.S. Justice Department will release on Thursday a redacted version of the nearly 400-page report of special counsel Robert Mueller on Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. election aimed at helping Donald Trump win the presidency.

In a steady drumbeat against the Mueller investigation, Trump claimed again Tuesday that he has already been exonerated of wrongdoing linked to the election, even as he and the American public await details of the prosecutor’s 22-month investigation.

“No Collusion – No Obstruction!” Trump said on Twitter.

On Monday, the U.S. leader contended that “these crimes were committed” by his 2016 opponent, Democrat Hillary Clinton, the Democratic National Committee and “Dirty Cops,” his derogatory term for former top U.S. law enforcement officials, “and others! INVESTIGATE THE INVESTIGATORS!”

Mueller investigated Trump campaign contacts with Russia and whether Trump, as president, obstructed justice by trying to thwart the probe. Sparring over the report in advance of its release is rampant.

Attorney General William Barr released a four-page summary of Mueller’s findings three weeks ago, saying the prosecutor had concluded that Trump and his campaign did not collude with Russia to help him win but had reached no conclusion whether Trump obstructed justice. But with Mueller not reaching a decision on the obstruction issue, Barr and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein decided no obstruction charges against Trump were warranted.

Trump tweeted that Mueller’s report “was written by 18 Angry Democrats who also happen to be Trump Haters (and Clinton Supporters), should have focused on the people who SPIED on my 2016 Campaign, and others who fabricated the whole Russia Hoax … Since there was no Collusion, why was there an Investigation in the first place! Answer – Dirty Cops, Dems and Crooked Hillary!”

Barr, a Trump appointee as the country’s top law enforcement official, said last week he believes that top American intelligence agencies spied on the Trump campaign. He later amended his remarks, saying that while he is “not saying that improper surveillance occurred,” he is “concerned about it and looking into it.”

Barr said he would examine the details of how the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation began.

As for the Mueller report, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders told the U.S. cable news program Fox News Sunday, “I don’t think it is going to be damaging to the president.”

Congressman Jerrold Nadler, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee that is probing the election, told CNN on Sunday that Barr should release the full report and underlying investigatory evidence to his panel, but Barr has balked.

“To deny the Judiciary Committee and the Congress the knowledge of what’s in parts of the Mueller report is not proper,” Nadler said.

No one other than Barr and key officials in the Justice Department, Mueller and his team of prosecutors appear to know what the report says about the extent of Trump campaign links with Russia during his 2016 campaign or whether he took any actions as the U.S. leader aimed at inhibiting the investigation.

Nadler said that even though Barr concluded no obstruction charges should be brought against Trump, his decision should not go without review. Nadler noted that Barr, before he became the country’s top law enforcement official, wrote that Trump could not obstruct justice because the president “is the boss of the Justice Department and could order it around to institute an investigation, to eliminate an investigation or could not be questioned about that.”

“In other words, [Barr] thinks as a matter of law a president can’t obstruct justice, which is a very wild theory to which most people do not agree,” Nadler said. “The fact of the matter is we should see and judge for ourselves and Congress should judge whether the president obstructed justice or not, and the public ultimately.”

Nadler said it “may be that Mueller decided not to prosecute obstruction of justice for various reasons that there wasn’t proof beyond a reasonable doubt on some things. But there still may have been proof of some very bad deeds and very bad motives. And we need to see them and the public needs to see them.”

Opposition Democrats like Nadler have launched new investigations of Trump, a Republican, but the president is objecting.

On Twitter, Trump said last Saturday, “Why should Radical Left Democrats in Congress have a right to retry and examine the $35,000,000 (two years in the making) No Collusion Mueller Report….”

Barr has said he will release as much of the Mueller report as possible, while excluding material Mueller included from secret grand jury testimony and confidential U.S. intelligence sources, information about ongoing investigations and material that might prove damaging to peripheral figures in the investigation who have not been charged with criminal offenses. The extent of his redactions is not known.



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