Barr deepens critics' concerns in handling of Mueller report

After nearly two years of waiting America is about to get some answers straight from Robert Mueller but not before President Donald Trump's attorney general has his say. William Barr says he release a redacted copy of special this morning. (April 1

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In explaining the decision to eschew a "traditional prosecutorial judgment, " Mueller said he faced not only having to untangle Trump's motivation for trying to curtail the Russian Federation investigation but hard issues of law.

"On the first call, McGahn recalled that the president said something like, 'You gotta do this". Mueller appears to believe that it is the role of Congress to ensure Trump is not above the law.

Attorney General William Barr told a news conference Mueller had detailed "10 episodes involving the president and discusses potential legal theories for connecting these actions to elements of an obstruction offense". However, the report - based on almost two years of interviews by Mueller's team with Trump's inner circle - emphasized that, contrary to the Republican president's claim, he was not cleared of obstruction of justice.

Mueller built an extensive case indicating the Republican president had committed obstruction of justice but stopped short of concluding he had committed a crime, though he did not exonerate the president.

Even if the House of Representatives were to embark on such a path, it would likely be doomed to fail in the Republican-controlled Senate where a two-thirds majority is required to remove a sitting president.

I appreciate Attorney General Barr's commitment to publicly release the Special Counsel's report, so the American people can see for themselves that there was no collusion or obstruction of justice by President Trump. "McFarland declined because she did not know whether that was true, and a White House Counsel's Office attorney thought the request would look like a quid pro quo for an ambassadorship she had been offered", the report says.

Barr signalled his own skepticism of the investigation even before he took office with an unsolicited memo to the Justice Department a year ago in which he criticized Mueller's obstruction inquiry.

But Nick Akerman, a former federal prosecutor who served as a member of the Watergate prosecution team, said Attorney General William Barr, who cleared Trump of obstruction of justice, had "no business" doing so.

But while Trump has declared victory and cast himself as fully exonerated - the report made clear investigators did not share that conclusion when it comes to the charge of obstruction of justice.

Trump's legal team called the report "a total victory" for the president.

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In an opinion-editorial for the Washington Post, Podesta wrote the Mueller report stated that the Trump campaign was aware of a WikiLeaks document dump of emails that Russian intelligence associates stole from Clinton's campaign and the Democrat National Committee's (DNC) servers.

President Donald Trump pauses during remarks on the deployment of 5G technology in the United States during an event in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Friday, April 12, 2019, in Washington.

Reacting on Thursday, Pete Buttigieg, a once little-known candidate whose campaign has surged in the early part of the Democratic race, said the report was "disturbing", though its findings were "not completely surprising". "McGahn recalled that he had already said no to the President's request and he was worn down, so he just wanted to get off the phone".

Following Mueller's appointment, Trump called McGahn at home in June 2017 and ordered him to have Mueller fired for conflicts of interest.

Trump told then-FBI Director James Comey during a private White House dinner in January 2017 that he "needed loyalty" in the investigation of National Security Adviser Michael Flynn for lying to the FBI about discussing U.S. sanctions against Russian Federation with Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

And while finding that no Americans deliberately took part in the Russian meddling, Mueller also determined that Trump was happy enough to gain an advantage from the dirty tricks.

Mr Trump called White House Chief Counsel Don McGahn twice and told him to tell Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein that Mr Mueller should be removed.

Barr, a Trump appointee, seemed to offer cover for Trump's actions by saying the report acknowledges "there is substantial evidence to show that the president was frustrated and angered by a honest belief that the investigation was undermining his presidency, propelled by his political opponents, and fuelled by illegal leaks".

Freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., says she will add her name to an impeachment resolution aimed at President Donald Trump following the release of special counsel Robert Mueller's report. Trump repeatedly berated Sessions for that decision, and he eventually forced Sessions out after the 2018 midterm elections.

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