Moments ago, Attorney General William Barr released the “principal conclusions” of the Mueller report to members of Congress. According to the letter, “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.”
In other words: there was no Russian collusion.
As for whether the Trump campaign was involved with the hacking of the DNC or the Hillary Clinton campaign’s emails, the special counsel “did not find that any U.S. person or Trump campaign official or associate conspired or knowingly coordinated” with Russians involved in those hackings, “despite multiple offers from Russian-affiliated individuals to assist the Trump campaign.”
The letter also addresses the allegations of obstruction of justice. According to the letter, the special counsel described the facts of those allegations, but the report “does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.” Given the probe’s willingness to indict people for completely unrelated crimes, it seems unlikely that the facts presented in the full report merit any charges of obstruction. They looked for obstruction but didn’t find any. In fact, Barr’s letter does say the following:
After reviewing the Special Counsel’s final report on these issues; consulting with Department officials, including the Office of Legal Counsel; and applying the principles of federal prosecution that guide our charging decisions, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and I 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. Our determination was made without regard to, and is not based on, the constitutional considerations that surround the indictment and criminal prosecution of a sitting president.
Naturally, Democrats are focusing on the language that says the report “does not exonerate” Trump, but make no mistake. As much as they’ll try to keep the collusion/obstruction of justice narrative alive, this report is a complete vindication of Trump on three fronts: no collusion. no involvement in email hacking, no obstruction of justice.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders called this a “complete exoneration” of the president.
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.”
— Stephanie Grisham (@PressSec) March 24, 2019
The Democrats’ hopes of ousting President Trump have just crumbled to dust. They’ll try to pursue obstruction with their own investigation, but with the Mueller report complete, they risk losing political capital with Americans who simply just want to move on from this two-year distraction.
Matt Margolis is the author of The Scandalous Presidency of Barack Obama and the bestselling The Worst President in History: The Legacy of Barack Obama. His new book, Trumping Obama: How President Trump Saved Us From Barack Obama’s Legacy, will be published in 2019. You can follow Matt on Twitter @MattMargolis