The key differences between what Mueller report says and what Bill Barr’s summary said about Trump collusion

Jordan Waller
Sunday 21 April 2019 10:15
news

The fallout of the Mueller report was always going to be a talking point, regardless of the conclusions drawn and it’s not failed to get tongues wagging about Donald Trump.

Following the release of the Mueller report, Attorney General Bill Barr has come under repeated criticism for apparently working in the White House’s favour to limit potential damage to President Donald Trump

One month before the report was released, Barr released a statement to the world that has since been accused of glossing over key details in the report in order to dilute the accusations aimed towards Donald Trump and his presidency.

Here’s the differences between what the Attorney General said, and what the Mueller report reveals

On Russian collusion

What Barr said:

The investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.

What Barr’s summary didn’t say is that Mueller’s report identified “numerous links” between Trump’s campaign and Russia.

What Mueller report actually says:

The investigation also identified numerous links between the Russian government and the Trump Campaign. Although the investigation established that the Russian government perceived it would benefit from a Trump presidency and worked to secure that outcome, and that the Campaign expected it would benefit electorally from information stolen and released through Russian efforts, the investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.

On Trump being exonerated

What Barr said:

Instead, for each of the relevant actions investigated, the report sets out evidence on both sides of the question and leaves unresolved what the Special Counsel views as ‘difficult issues’ of law and fact concerning whether the President's actions and intent could be viewed as obstruction. The Special Counsel states that ‘while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him’.

What Mueller report actually says:

The report may not take a final stance on the obstruction accusations levelled at Donald Trump but it does make clear, at least three times, that the president has not been exonerated.

The first time of which is in its introduction and of which the stance is later repeated under “conclusions”.

The report states:

“If we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the President clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state. Based on the facts and the applicable legal standards, however, we are unable to reach that judgment. The evidence we obtained about the President's actions and intent presents difficult issues that prevent us from conclusively determining that no criminal conduct occurred. Accordingly, while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.”

Mueller is quite clear throughout that the matter is unresolved on either side, with with enough evidence to still leave the open accusation of obstruction.

Mueller also details the unusual circumstances of the investigation and outlines how they were taken into account and considered during the investigations outcome.

“Because we determined not to make a traditional prosecutorial judgment, we did not draw ultimate conclusions about the President's conduct. The evidence we obtained about the President's actions and intent presents difficult issues that would need to be resolved if we were making a traditional prosecutorial judgment. At the same time, if we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the President clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state. Based on the facts and the applicable legal standards, we are unable to reach that judgment. Accordingly, while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.”

On ‘obstruction of justice’

What Barr said:

“In making this determination, we noted that the Special Counsel recognised that ‘the evidence does not establish that the President was involved in an underlying crime related to Russian election interference,’ and that, while not determinative, the absence of such evidence bears upon the President's intent with respect to obstruction.”

What Mueller report actually says:

In one of the more ambiguous sections of the report Mueller doesn’t outwardly state that Donald Trump obstructed justice but he does say that, had the president done so, his motivations may not necessarily be due to Russian collusion.

One suggested motive given is Trump’s own fear of being investigated.

“In this investigation, the evidence does not establish that the President was involved in an underlying crime related to Russian election interference. 

But the evidence does point to a range of other possible personal motives animating the President's conduct.

These include concerns that continued investigation would call into question the legitimacy of his election and potential uncertainty about whether certain events—such as advance notice of WikiLeaks's release of hacked information or the June 9, 2016 meeting between senior campaign officials and Russians—could be seen as criminal activity by the President, his campaign, or his family.”

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