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News > U.S.

Trump Campaign Off the Hook in Russia-US Meddling Probe

  • Donald Trump at the White House presidential medals ceremony.

    Donald Trump at the White House presidential medals ceremony. | Photo: Reuters

Published 24 March 2019

After nearly two years, the Special Counsel presented the investigation denying that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government.

U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russian interference in the 2016 election did not find that any U.S. or Trump campaign officials knowingly conspired with Moscow, according to a summary released Sunday by Attorney General William Barr. 

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"The investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities,” stated Mueller’s report, parts of which were disclosed by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). 

After nearly two years, the Special Counsel presented Friday the investigation to the top U.S. law enforcement officer. U.S. President Donald Trump has denied collusion and obstruction, while Russia has denied election interference. Yet, during this time, Trump sought to discredit the investigation, calling it a "witch hunt" and accusing Mueller of conflicts of interest.

The report is divided into two parts: first, it describes the main results of the investigation. According to the U.S. Attorney General, there was no association between Russia and the Trump Campaign to conspire or coordinate efforts to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election, which would be a federal crime. 

While the second part addressed Trump’s actions, which could be considered an obstruction of justice. Mueller left open the possibility that Trump had obstructed justice in his response to the Russia probe, yet Barr concluded that the evidence was “not sufficient to establish that the president committed obstruction of justice offense,” the summary said. The DOJ has a policy that sitting presidents cannot face criminal charges.

However, as both Mueller and Barr cited “this report does not conclude that the president committed a crime it also does no exonerate him”. After the release of the summary, the chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee, Jerry Nadler, said his panel would call Barr to testify shortly, citing concerns over Barr’s conclusions from the report.

In the report, the Special Counsel noted that, in completing his investigation, he employed 19 lawyers who were assisted by a team of approximately 40 FBI agents, intelligence analysts, forensic accountants and other experts. More than 2,800 subpoenas were issued, nearly 500 search warrants executed, and interviewed approximately 500 witnesses. 

The DOJ reported on Friday that the investigation brought forward charges against 34 people, including Russian agents and former Trump aides, such as his campaign chairman, Paul Manafort; former National Security Adviser Mike Flynn and Trump's personal lawyer, Michael Cohen. 

However, the report does not exonerate the Russian government of any alleged meddling, insisting that Moscow interfered through social media to “sow social discord” and that it also hacked into computers from the Clinton Campaign, disseminating sensible information to outlets such as Wikileaks. 

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