Donald Trump claimed “total exoneration” after Attorney General William Barr released his summary of the special counsel report on interference in the 2016 U.S. elections. But Fox News judicial analyst Andrew Napolitano told viewers Wednesday that the president’s legal troubles are not over.
The former judge said Barr’s summary indicated that “some evidence of a conspiracy” was found during the investigation, which only stokes further interest in the full report.
Barr wrote that special counsel Robert Mueller’s team did not conclude that the Trump campaign had colluded with Russian actors to affect the outcome of the election, but he also said the report did not totally exonerate the president from obstructing justice to interfere with the special counsel’s probe.
“Why would the attorney general reveal any ambivalence on the part of the government about whether or not the president had complied by the law?” Napolitano wondered. “By doing so, he’s invited people to want to dig deeper than the four-page summary.”
Barr wrote that Mueller left the decision of bringing obstruction charges against the president up to him. The attorney general then determined that the evidence gathered during the special counsel’s investigation did not establish that Trump committed a crime.
“When [Barr] said in his four-page letter that the government could not establish the existence of a conspiracy, he meant it could not establish it beyond a reasonable doubt,” Napolitano said. “Did [Mueller] find some evidence of a conspiracy? Of course, they did. If they didn’t, [Barr] would have told us.”
The Fox News analyst predicted that Mueller’s report would inevitably be released, a demand Democrats have been making since Sunday, when Barr submitted his summary of the special counsel’s key findings to Congress.
In a later appearance on host Neil Cavuto’s Fox Business program, Napolitano continued to opine on Trump’s legal battles ahead.
“In the 700-page summary ... there is undoubtedly some evidence of a conspiracy and some evidence of obstruction of justice, just not enough evidence ... to prove it beyond a reasonable doubt,” Napolitano said, adding that ethically, prosecutors cannot bring charges unless evidence meets that standard.
“Once the 700 pages come out, the Democrats and other Trump opponents will have a field day with what is in there,” he added. “If there was no evidence of conspiracy and no evidence of obstruction, the attorney general would have told us so. He didn’t. So there is something in there.”
Trump said on Monday that it “wouldn’t bother [him] at all” if Mueller’s full report was made available to the public, suggesting his support for its release.
This story has been updated with additional comment from Napolitano.
How to vote
Vote-by-mail ballot request deadline: Varies by state
For the Nov 3 election: States are making it easier for citizens to vote absentee by mail this year due to the coronavirus. Each state has its own rules for mail-in absentee voting. Visit your state election office website to find out if you can vote by mail.Get more information
In-person early voting dates: Varies by state
Sometimes circumstances make it hard or impossible for you to vote on Election Day. But your state may let you vote during a designated early voting period. You don't need an excuse to vote early. Visit your state election office website to find out whether they offer early voting.My Election Office
General Election: Nov 3, 2020
Polling hours on Election Day: Varies by state/localityMy Polling Place