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The Mueller Report - cover

The Mueller Report

Robert S. Mueller

Publisher: Blackmore Dennett

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Summary

The Mueller Report, formally titled Report on the Investigation into Russian Interference in the 2016 Presidential Election, is the official report documenting the findings and conclusions of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian efforts to interfere in the 2016 United States presidential election, allegations of conspiracy or coordination between Donald Trump's presidential campaign and Russia, and allegations of obstruction of justice. The report was submitted to Attorney General William Barr on March 22, 2019, and a redacted version of the 448-page report was publicly released by the Department of Justice (DOJ) on April 18, 2019. It is divided into two volumes.

Volume I of the report concluded that Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election did occur "in sweeping and systematic fashion" and "violated U.S. criminal law". It listed two methods by which Russia attempted to influence the election: firstly, a social media campaign by the Internet Research Agency (IRA) which supported the Trump presidential campaign, attacked the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign, and aimed to "amplify political and social discord", and secondly, Russian intelligence GRU conducting computer hacking and strategic releasing of damaging material from the Clinton campaign and Democratic Party organizations. The report identified multiple contacts between Trump campaign officials and individuals with ties to the Russian government, about which several persons connected to the campaign made false statements and obstructed investigations. However, the investigation did not establish that the campaign "coordinated or conspired with the Russian government in its election-interference activities", and did not pursue any charges under conspiracy statutes and statutes governing foreign agents, with the exception of Paul Manafort and Rick Gates who were found guilty of criminal offenses stemming from their prior lobbying work for the Ukrainian Party of Regions.

Volume II of the report addressed obstruction of justice. The investigation intentionally took an approach that could not result in a judgment that Trump committed a crime. It also refrained from charging him because investigators abided by an Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) opinion that a sitting president cannot stand trial, and feared that charges would affect Trump's governing and possibly preempt impeachment. Meanwhile, investigators felt it would be unfair to accuse Trump of a crime without charges and without a trial in which he could clear his name. As such, the investigation "does not conclude that the President committed a crime"; however, "it also does not exonerate him." This was because investigators were not confident that Trump was innocent after examining his intent and actions. The report describes ten episodes where Trump could potentially have obstructed justice while president and one before he was elected, noting he privately tried to "control the investigation" in multiple ways, but mostly failed to influence the investigation because his subordinates or associates refused to carry out his instructions. The Special Counsel's office also concluded that Congress can decide whether Trump obstructed justice, and that it has the authority to take action against him in reference to potential impeachment proceedings.

"The Special Counsel's decision to describe the facts of his obstruction investigation without reaching any legal conclusions leaves it to the Attorney General to determine whether the conduct described in the report constitutes a crime", Barr stated in his letter to Congress on March 24,further stating that "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". Upon public release of the redacted report, numerous legal analysts identified significant discrepancies between Barr's characterizations of its contents and the report's actual findings.

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