Mueller Didn’t Exonerate Trump of Obstruction of Justice

The Mueller report is finally done. On March 23, Special Counsel Robert Mueller sent the confidential report of his 22-month investigation to Attorney General William Barr. Less than 48 hours later, Barr released a four-page letter outlining Mueller’s conclusions and jumping to one as well.

In response to Barr’s letter, Donald Trump claimed, “There was no obstruction, none whatsoever, and it was a complete and total exoneration.” But Mueller did not exonerate Trump of obstruction of justice.

The Mueller report contains three main findings.

First, Barr writes, “The report outlines the Russian effort to influence the election and documents crimes committed by persons associated with the Russian government in connection with those efforts.” Mueller makes clear that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election.

Second, according to Barr, “The Special Counsel’s investigation did not find that the Trump campaign or anyone associated with it conspired or coordinated with Russia in its efforts to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election.” In other words, there was no finding of collusion.

Finally, and significantly, Mueller did not “make a traditional prosecutorial judgment” about whether Trump committed obstruction of justice. “The Special Counsel therefore did not draw a conclusion — one way or the other — as to whether the examined conduct constituted obstruction,” Barr wrote. “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.’”

Does this…

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