Attorney General William Barr held a press conference to discuss the release of the redacted report from Robert Mueller’s investigation. Read Barr’s prepared remarks. (CNN)
The redacted report was released publicly. Read it here.
1/ Attorney General William Barr repeatedly insisted that Robert Mueller “found no evidence” that the Trump campaign conspired with Russia to interfere in the 2016 presidential election and that Russian efforts to interfere “did not have the cooperation of President Trump or the Trump campaign.” Barr repeatedly said Mueller”s report did not find “collusion” between the Trump campaign and the Russian government. Further, Barr said that even if the Trump campaign colluded with WikiLeaks, that was not a crime. Barr added that Mueller examined 10 “episodes” that Trump may have obstructed justice, but that he and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein “disagreed with some of the special counsel’s legal theories and felt that some of the episodes did not amount to obstruction.” According to Barr, Trump acted out of “noncorrupt motives” because he was frustrated by Mueller’s investigation, as well as media coverage that he felt was hurting his administration. Barr also confirmed that he gave Trump’s lawyers access to Mueller’s report “earlier this week” – before it was to be sent to Congress and made public – and that Trump’s lawyers did not ask for any redactions. (Washington Post / New York Times / Politico / NBC News / CNN / The Guardian / Bloomberg)
📌 Day 700: Trump’s pick for attorney general criticized Mueller’s obstruction of justice investigation in an unsolicited memo he sent to the Justice Department in June . William Barr said “Mueller’s obstruction theory is fatally misconceived,” claiming that Trump’s interactions with James Comey would not constitute obstruction of justice, because Trump was using his “complete authority to start or stop a law enforcement proceeding.” If confirmed as attorney general, Barr would oversee Mueller’s work. (Wall Street Journal / New York Times / CNN / The Guardian / Washington Post)
[BEFORE REPORT]: Mueller’s report will reportedly be “lightly redacted” and is expected to reveal details about Trump’s actions in office that came under scrutiny. According to an outline the Justice Department used to brief the White House with, Mueller did not come to a conclusion on the question of obstruction of justice because he couldn’t determine Trump’s intent behind his actions. Separately, the Justice Department will let a “limited number” of lawmakers review Mueller’s report “without certain redactions, including removing the redaction of information related to the charges set forth in the indictment in this case.” (Washington Post)
2/ Mueller’s office chose not to charge Trump with obstruction, because “we recognized that a federal criminal accusation against a sitting President would place burdens on the President’s capacity to govern and potentially preempt constitutional process for addressing presidential misconduct.” According to the report, Mueller considered Trump’s written answers “inadequate,” but knew subpoena would impose “substantial delay,” but they believe they have “sufficient evidence to understand relevant events and to make certain assessments without the President’s testimony.” As part of Trump’s written answers, he stated more than 30 times he “does not ‘recall’ or ‘remember’ or have an ‘‘independent recollection’” of information investigators asked about. When Mueller was appointed special counsel on May 17, 2017, Trump reportedly panicked, saying, “Oh my God. This is terrible. This is the end of my Presidency. I’m fucked.” (NBC News / Washington Post)
“GAME OVER,” Trump tweeted immediately after Barr’s press conference. Trump spent the morning tweeting about “Crooked, Dirty Cops and DNC/The Democrats” and complaining of “PRESIDENTIAL HARASSMENT.” (NBC News)
📌 Day 666: Trump said he answered Robert Mueller’s written questions himself “very easily,” but he hasn’t submitted them because “you have to always be careful when you answer questions with people that probably have bad intentions.” Rudy Giuliani said there are at least two dozen questions that relate to activities and episodes from before Trump’s election. Trump spent more than five hours in meeting over three days this week with his attorneys working out written answers for Mueller about alleged collusion between his campaign and Russia during the 2016 presidential election. Despite telling reporters that “the questions were very routinely answered by me,” Trump’s temper boiled during all three meetings. Seemingly out of nowhere, Trump targeted Mueller on Twitter yesterday, calling the special counsel team “thugs” and the investigation a “witch hunt.” (Associated Press / Reuters / CNN / Washington Post / The Guardian)
📌 Day 670: Trump submitted his written answers to Robert Mueller’s questions “regarding the Russia-related topics of the inquiry,” according to Trump’s attorney, Jay Sekulow. Mueller has not ruled out trying to compel Trump to sit for an interview after reviewing the written answers. (Bloomberg/ CNBC / New York Times / Associated Press)
3/ The Justice Department briefed White House lawyers about the conclusions made in Robert Mueller report multiple times in recent days, which have aided Trump’s legal team as it prepares a strategy for rebutting the report’s findings. Attorney General William Barr refused to answer whether the Justice Department had given the White House a preview of Mueller’s findings. The Justice Department will deliver the report to Congress following Barr’s press conference, between 11 a.m. and noon – several hours after Barr held a press conference. The report will also be posted later to the special counsel’s website. (New York Times)
- Barr said Trump did not invoke executive privilege over any information contained in Mueller’s report. He said the White House counsel was permitted to review a redacted version of the report, but insisted that “no material has been redacted based on executive privilege.” (Associated Press)
4/ House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler accused Barr of “waging a media campaign on behalf of President Trump.” Nadler charged that Barr was attempting to “bake in the narrative to the benefit of the White House” and to protect Trump by holding a news conference about Mueller’s report hours before it will be made public. Nadler and other House committee chairs issued a joint statement urging Barr to cancel the news conference and “let the full report speak for itself.” The House Judiciary Committee plans to review the redacted report, and then ask Mueller and his team to testify before Congress. (Washington Post / ABC News / Politico)
In other news.
North Korea said continued nuclear talks would be “lousy” if Mike Pompeo remains involved, demanding that the Secretary of State be replaced by someone who is “more careful.” A North Korean foreign ministry official said last week that Pompeo “spouted reckless remarks, hurting the dignity of our supreme leadership” after he agreed with the characterization of Kim Jong-un as a tyrant. That same official warned on Thursday that if Pompeo remains involved, “the talks will become entangled.” (BBC)
North Korea said it test-fired a new type of “tactical guided weapon.” There was no evidence the test involved a nuclear detonation or an intercontinental ballistic missile. (New York Times)
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