POLITICS

Trump Responds To Release Of Redacted Mueller Report

The president's comments came not long after Attorney General William Barr vigorously defended him at a news conference.

President Donald Trump said he was “having a good day” on Thursday just minutes after the Justice Department released a redacted copy of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Mueller’s report, released to Congress and the American public nearly one month after it was submitted to the Department of Justice, examined whether Trump or members of his presidential campaign colluded with the Russian government before the 2016 election and whether Trump obstructed justice in the months afterward.

“I’m having a good day,” Trump said at a White House event for wounded warriors. “No collusion. No obstruction. There never was, by the way, and there never will be.”

He continued: “This should never happen to another president again. This hoax. This should never happen to another president again.”

Trump was also busy on Twitter throughout the morning. He posted a dramatic video compilation showing a handful of the hundreds of times he said on camera that there had been “no collusion” with Russia, along with headlines appearing to exonerate him from any wrongdoing. 

Following a news conference on the Mueller report given by Attorney General William Barr, who vigorously defended the president, Trump posted a picture drawing on “Game of Thrones” imagery that read, “For the haters and the radical left Democrats ― Game Over.”

Later Thursday evening, the president went back on Twitter to cite Fox News host Jesse Watters, who said that Trump attempting to retaliate against “being framed” was not obstruction.

“I had the right to end the whole Witch Hunt if I wanted. I could have fired everyone, including Mueller, if I wanted,” the president tweeted. “I chose not to. I had the RIGHT to use Executive Privilege. I didn’t!”

Trump maintained his innocence over the course of Mueller’s nearly two-year investigation, which plagued most of his time in the Oval Office to date.

He often deflected negative attention brought about by the Russia probe by insisting it was his former presidential opponent, Democrat Hillary Clinton, who should have been the subject of a lengthy investigation. Thursday morning, he shared several tweets about Clinton’s supposed crimes.

Trump also has referred frequently to the special counsel’s investigation as a “witch hunt” and described it as wasteful and politically motivated, despite the fact that U.S. intelligence agencies concluded Russia made a concerted effort to help Trump win the 2016 election. In the course of Mueller’s investigation, 34 people and three companies were indicted, convicted or pleaded guilty, including top Trump aides.

In a statement, Trump’s legal team called the special counsel’s findings “a total victory for the President” and claimed that “it is clear there was no criminal wrongdoing.”

“The report underscores what we have argued from the very beginning ― there was no collusion ― there was no obstruction,” the lawyers said.

Brad Parscale, Trump’s 2020 campaign manager, called the investigation a “sham” that was “motivated by political retribution.” He demanded that law enforcement officials be investigated, citing Barr’s claim that “spying” on the Trump campaign “did occur” in 2016, a reference to FBI surveillance of a Trump campaign official due to his contacts with Russians

Trump claimed he had been totally exonerated from any crime back in March, after the attorney general sent a brief summary of the nearly 400-page Mueller report to Congress. Barr did not release a copy of the report itself at that time.

“After so many people have been so badly hurt, after not looking at the other side, where a lot of bad things happened, 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,” Trump told reporters in late March. 

“The most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard,” he added. “There was no collusion with Russia. There was no obstruction. None whatsoever. It was a complete and total exoneration.”

Though Trump claimed at that time he had been exonerated, Mueller explicitly noted in the report, according to a summary written by Barr, that the result of the investigation “does not exonerate” the president from claims of obstruction of justice.

In fact, Mueller’s team decided to go against the Justice Department’s standard procedure and declined to make a “traditional prosecutorial judgment” against Trump, according to Barr.

“The Special Counsel therefore did not draw a conclusion ― one way or the other ― as to whether the examined conduct constituted obstruction,” Barr wrote.

The special counsel’s team was reportedly wary of the way the U.S. attorney general characterized their report. Mueller’s investigators said Barr “failed to adequately portray the findings of their inquiry,” The New York Times reported April 4.

Investigators also told their associates that the evidence gathered on whether Trump obstructed justice was both “alarming and significant,” according to a Washington Post report. In that same report, the Post quoted a person familiar with the investigation as saying that the evidence against Trump was “much more acute than Barr suggested.”

This article has been updated with a later tweet from Trump.

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