(Gray News) - Attorney General William Barr has given Congress the eagerly anticipated summary of the “principal conclusions” of special counsel Robert Mueller’s two-year Russia investigation.
Barr delivered the summary to lawmakers Sunday afternoon, Rep. Jerry Nadler, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, confirmed.
Nadler followed up that confirmation by tweeting out a link to the summary.
In his summary, Barr wrote: “Although my review is ongoing, I believe that it is in the public interest to describe the report and to summarize the principal conclusions reached by the Special Counsel and the results of his investigation.”
One of those conclusions: “The Special Counsel’s investigation did not find that the Trump campaign or anyone associated with it conspired or coordinated with Russia in its efforts to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election.”
On the matter of whether President Donald Trump committed or attempted to commit obstruction of justice in the probe, Barr shared this conclusion from Mueller: "The Special Counsel states that ‘while this report does not conclude that the president committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.’”
Because Mueller didn’t reach any legal conclusions over whether Trump obstructed justice, it was left to Barr to “determine whether the conduct described in the report constitutes a crime.”
Barr wrote that, after reviewing Mueller’s final report, he and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein “have concluded that the evidence developed during the Special Counsel’s investigation is not sufficient to establish that the President committed an obstruction-of-justice offense.”
Trump was said to be calm and confident as he spent the weekend golfing at Mar-a-Lago before the summary’s release. Late Sunday afternoon, Trump tweeted: “No Collusion, No Obstruction, Complete and Total EXONERATION. KEEP AMERICA GREAT!”
Speaking to reporters in Florida, Trump said: “It’s a shame our country had to go through this. To be honest, it’s a shame your president had to go through this.”
“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.
Trump’s attorney Rudy Giuliani told CNN he thinks Mueller’s report 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?” Giuliani said.
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders tweeted: "The Special Counsel did not find any collusion and did not find any obstruction. AG Barr and DAG 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.”
Nadler tweeted that, “In light of the very concerning discrepancies and final decision making at the Justice Department following the Special Counsel report, where Mueller did not exonerate the President,” the House Judiciary Committee will call on Barr to testify “in the near future.”
Nadler also said it was “imperative” that Barr release the full Mueller report and the evidence underlying it.
Mueller submitted the report to Barr on Friday. Barr spent more than nine hours at the Department of Justice on Saturday, consuming Mueller’s completed findings into how Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election, a sprawling investigation that has assumed an extraordinary place in American politics since nearly the start of Donald Trump’s presidency.
Mueller will be issuing no more indictments, meaning questions will swirl about the many elements of the investigation that did not result in criminal charges.
That investigation weaved in sometimes dizzying directions - a frequent conservative criticism - coming to touch on questions of whether the Trump campaign colluded with the Russian government, whether the president obstructed justice in his firing of former FBI Director James Comey, and whether Trump’s finances, in business and in politics, were entirely legal.
Comey released a statement of sorts after the summary was made public: a picture of himself standing alone in a forest, looking up, with the accompanying text, “So many questions.”
Notably, Trump himself was never interviewed by the special counsel, and none of his family members were ever indicted.
The “principal conclusions” is just one piece of the full report. Its full details promise to be the subject of a pitched political battle.
Some of the report may forever remain closed off to the public, hidden behind security classifications, assertions of executive privilege and grand jury secrecy. Democrats have promised to fight tooth and nail to reveal as much of it as possible.
For his part, Barr wrote in his summary that he intends to release “as much of the Special Counsel’s report as I can consistent with applicable law, regulations, and Departmental policies.”
Barr has requested Mueller assist him in identifying and removing secret grand jury material from the report “as quickly as possible” before portions of it can be made public.
“As soon as that process is complete, I will be in a position to move forward expeditiously in determining what can be released," Barr wrote.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Chuck Schumer released a joint statement after Barr submitted his summary, in which they called for the release of the full Mueller report, questioned Barr’s impartiality and said Mueller’s conclusions didn’t fully exonerate Trump, as the president claimed:
"Attorney General Barr’s letter raises as many questions as it answers. The fact that Special Counsel Mueller’s report does not exonerate the president on a charge as serious as obstruction of justice demonstrates how urgent it is that the full report and underlying documentation be made public without any further delay. Given Mr. Barr’s public record of bias against the Special Counsel’s inquiry, he is not a neutral observer and is not in a position to make objective determinations about the report.
And most obviously, for the president to say he is completely exonerated directly contradicts the words of Mr. Mueller and is not to be taken with any degree of credibility.
Congress requires the full report and the underlying documents so that the Committees can proceed with their independent work, including oversight and legislating to address any issues the Mueller report may raise. The American people have a right to know."
“Barr’s public record of bias” the joint statement referred to is a memo Barr sent the Justice Department in 2018, in which he said Mueller’s obstruction inquiry was “fatally misconceived.”
In all, Mueller’s investigation resulted in charges against 37 people and entities, with seven people pleading guilty and five sentenced to prison. It ensnared a half dozen of the president’s associates.
Those associates range from close confidants such as Roger Stone and former lawyer Michael Cohen, to 2016 campaign operatives such as Paul Manafort, Rick Gates and George Papadopoulos, to a onetime administration official, Michael Flynn, who briefly served as the president’s national security adviser.
Cohen will spend three years in prison, and Manafort has been sentenced to more than seven years between two separate cases.