Mueller Investigation

Mueller's Conclusion: No Coordination Between Trump Campaign and Russia

As for obstruction evidence, he punts the matter to Congress.


President Donald Trump
Ting Shen Xinhua News Agency/Newscom

The investigators working for Special Counsel Robert Mueller did not find that President Donald Trump or anybody connected with him conspired or coordinated with Russian nationals or entities attempting to influence the outcome of the U.S. presidential election in 2016.

That's according to a long-awaited summary of the outcome of Mueller's investigation, which was delivered today to the heads of Congress' judiciary committees and then almost immediately released to the public.

The four-page memo written by Attorney General William Barr states clearly, "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."

Barr's letter explains that Mueller's team looked at the two big efforts by Russian entities to meddle with the election outcome—both the secret, concealed campaign to spread discord and misinformation on the internet, and the hacking operations that gathered secret Democratic Party emails and communications within Hillary Clinton's campaign—and did not establish involvement from Trump or people on his campaign.

Furthermore, the report explored accusations that Trump obstructed justice by his actions during the investigation, like firing FBI Director James Comey. Here, Mueller essentially punted. Mueller did not draw a conclusion one way or the other as to whether Trump's behavior counted as obstruction, and will leave it to Barr to make a decision to prosecute. Mueller's report does not conclude that Trump committed a crime, but also does not exonerate him, according to Barr.

Barr adds in response that he does not see enough evidence under the principles of the Department of Justice to establish obstruction charges that would satisfy a "beyond a reasonable doubt" threshold for conviction.

Barr concludes he wants to release as much information from the report as possible, but there are some disclosure concerns involving evidence in grand jury investigations that need to be dealt with. There are likely to be some redactions in what gets out from the report, but it does suggest we're going to see a lot of it.

So this is hardly going be the last word, not that anybody thought it would be. Mueller is essentially handing the obstruction issue over to Congress, and I imagine there will be a lot of opinions there, though House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has already said she doesn't predict impeachment happening without bipartisan support. If Barr's summary of the Mueller report is accurate, I don't see any current Republican defenders of Trump switching sides.

Read Barr's letter to Congress for yourself here.

This story has been updated for clarity