Mueller report: Democrats round on Barr over 'misleading' Trump exoneration – as it happened

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Judiciary committee chair Jerry Nadler says it was ‘disingenuous and misleading’ of Barr to say Trump is ‘clear of wrongdoing’

2.12am BST

So that was a day.

1.19am BST

House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi appears to be rallying the House Democrats, sending a letter to her colleagues and planning for a Monday conference call to discuss the Mueller report.

NEW.. PELOSI announces Monday conference call in letter to democrats and says this:

12.37am BST

President Trump has been tweeting about the Mueller report for almost 12 hours now.

Anything the Russians did concerning the 2016 Election was done while Obama was President. He was told about it and did nothing! Most importantly, the vote was not affected.

12.23am BST

The Mueller report may possibly be the most-read document in the country at this point, but it’s not doing so hot on Goodreads.

From the one review: “The previous owner used a black highlighter on all the interesting bits and the main character has no redeeming qualities.”

“the mueller report” has one review on Goodreads

12.19am BST

Congresswoman Omar joins fellow Democratic freshman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in signing Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib’s resolution.

Impeachment is part of our constitutional responsibility. We have an obligation to investigate whether the President committed impeachable offenses, including:

-Obstruction of justice
-Violating the Emoluments Clause
-Abuse of power

11.37pm BST

A little bit of levity to lighten a day full of the Mueller report:

THREAD: mueller report redactions as red carpet looks

page 33 — emma watson at the 2013 cannes film festival

page 28 — lady gaga at the 5th annual fashion los angeles awards

page 20 — billy porter at the 2019 oscars

page 30 — kit harington at the 2018 golden globes

page d-5 — janelle monaé at the warner bros. “creed” premiere

page 133 — sarah paulson at the 21st SAG awards

11.30pm BST

The House Democratic committee chairs issued a joint statement noting that they are “profoundly troubled by the astonishing efforts by President Trump identified in the report to obstruct justice”.

“It is now Congress’ responsibility to review and assess the evidence.”

Well this is unusual. The chairs of SIX House committees (Intel, Judiciary, Oversight, Foreign Affairs, Financial Services, Ways & Means) just issued a joint statement on Mueller’s report and what should come next.

11.20pm BST

The eight Congressional leaders who are briefed on classified intelligence matters will be allowed access to the less redacted Mueller report in an in-camera review on Monday, with the order that the redacted portions remain confidential.

Gang of Eight can get access to less redacted Mueller report starting Monday, per new Barr letter.

11.09pm BST

President Trump continues to double down on his defense that the Mueller probe was all a witch hunt.

“Donald Trump was being framed, he fought back. That is not Obstruction.” @JesseBWatters I had the right to end the whole Witch Hunt if I wanted. I could have fired everyone, including Mueller, if I wanted. I chose not to. I had the RIGHT to use Executive Privilege. I didn’t!

10.58pm BST

Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez took to Twitter to make her sentiments clear.

Mueller’s report is clear in pointing to Congress’ responsibility in investigating obstruction of justice by the President.

It is our job as outlined in Article 1, Sec 2, Clause 5 of the US Constitution.

As such, I’ll be signing onto @RashidaTlaib’s impeachment resolution.

10.33pm BST

Related: Mueller links Trump and campaign to 11 instances of potential obstruction

Related: Mueller report: the key takeaways from the Trump-Russia investigation

Related: Mueller’s report would have signaled the end for anyone other than Trump

Related: Trump claims ‘game over’ on Mueller report as Democrats say game on

Related: Trump claimed he knew about damaging Clinton emails in advance

Related: Of course Trump colluded with Russia. But unfortunately that’s not a crime | Richard Wolffe

10.10pm BST

Hey all, Vivian Ho on the west coast, taking over for Lauren Gambino. What a day.

10.05pm BST

The release of the redacted Mueller report is a reminder that the Russian government doesn’t necessarily need to equip its spies with wigs, fake teeth, and poisoned umbrellas; US social media platforms provided the influence operation with a ready made platform for creating false identities.

Facebook is mentioned 81 times in the redacted report; by comparison, Ivanka Trump’s name comes up just 15 times. Other platforms that merited a mention include Twitter (68), Instagram (7), Google (6), YouTube (5) and Tumblr (1).

9.26pm BST

The Guardian’s Ed Pilkington spotted this important passage as he fastidiously pours over the 448-page document.

Mueller lays out clear evidence that Trump attempted to lean on a couple of key witnesses to deflect the Russia inquiry away from him. The first was Paul Manafort.

9.20pm BST

Trump boarded Marine One en route to Mar-a-lago without taking questions from reporters, the Guardian’s David Smith reports.

At the White House. Donald Trump heading to Marine One with Melania and without taking questions from big press corps.

9.19pm BST

Adam Schiff, chair of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, said the report indicates that the actions of Trump’s campaign and associates “are unquestionably dishonest, unethical, immoral and unpatriotic”.

“That is not the subject of vindication, that is the subject of condemnation,” Schiff said speaking from California.

9.11pm BST

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer – the second-ranking Democrat in the House – told CNN he thinks, at least at this point, impeachment is “not worthwhile”.

House Majority @LeaderHoyer just told me : “Based on what we have seen to date, going forward on impeachment is not worthwhile at this point. Very frankly, there is an election in 18 months and the American people will make a judgement,”

8.32pm BST

In an interview on Fox News, White House senior adviser Kellyanne Conway likened the investigation to a “proctology exam” and declared Trump had emerged with “a clean bill of health”.

She maintained that the report was an unblemished exoneration of the president and reiterated her demand for House intelligence chairman Adam Schiff to resign.

8.25pm BST

Reporters have long accused White House press secretary Sarah Sanders of not being truthful with the press corps. But here, in sworn testimony, she confirms that the reason she offered for Trump firing Comey – that Comey had lost the confidence of the rank and file members of the FBI – was “not founded on anything.”

Sarah Sanders on Comey firing to press:
“countless members of the FBI” did not like Comey

Sanders to Mueller: That was a “slip of the tongue.”

To press: Rank and file FBI lost confidence in Comey

To Mueller: Said “in the heat of the moment” and not founded on anything.

7.56pm BST

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7.52pm BST

Judiciary Committee chair Jerry Nadler is holding a press conference in New York.

He accuses Barr of “undermin[ing] his own department in order to protect President Trump”. He said it was “disingenuous and misleading” of Barr to say Trump is “clear of wrongdoing”.

7.48pm BST

White House senior counselor Kellyanne Conway told reporters that the publication of the Mueller report is “really the best day since he got elected”. She reiterated Trump’s insistence that there was “no collusion, and there was certainly no criminal conspiracy with any Russians”.

We’re accepting apologies today, too, for anybody who feels the grace in offering them,” Conway said.

Kellyanne Conway says “this is the best day since he got elected.”

7.40pm BST

Hello! Lauren Gambino here in the nation’s capital. I’m taking the keyboard from Adam for the duration of the afternoon. Stay tuned for our continuing coverage of the Mueller report.

7.19pm BST

Mike Pence, vice-president and Christian, has issued a statement on the Mueller report. It’s a greatest hits of nonsense, containing the same lies as Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale’s statement earlier.

I’ve put the bits that are incorrect in bold:

Today’s release of the special counsel’s report confirms what the president and I have said since day one: there was no collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia and there was no obstruction of justice.

After two years of investigation, conducted with the full cooperation of this administration, that involved hundreds of witness interviews and millions of pages of documents, the American people can see for themselves: no collusion, no obstruction.

7.04pm BST

Political reaction to the report had been baked into the cake by Barr’s four-page summary last month. Trump and Republicans inevitably circled the wagons and claimed vindication again; Democrats seized on the damning evidence that the president attempted to obstruct justice and was saved only by those around him.

The timing of the report was fortunate for Trump, with Congress not in session and Washington winding down for Easter. Attorney general William Barr also did his best to positive spin on the findings in a pre-publication briefing. Garry Kasparov, the Russian human rights activist, tweeted: “Barr’s press conference reminded me of the Soviet spokesmen reassuring people in bread lines that the grain harvest is again at record levels.”

6.47pm BST

From Russia with (no) love: Russian officials have branded Mueller’s allegations of election meddling “absurd”, according to the Guardian’s Marc Bennetts:

“Two years of work and tens of millions of dollars wasted,” is how Russian state TV’s Channel One described Mueller’s investigation into allegations of collusion between Trump and Russia. There has been no comment yet from the Kremlin on Mueller’s findings that there were multiple links between Trump campaign officials and individuals tied to the Russian government.

Leonid Slutsky, the head of the Russian parliament’s foreign affairs committee, said the allegations of Russian meddling in the 2016 elections were “absurd,” evidence of “Russophobia,” and part of an “internal political struggle in Washington”.

6.34pm BST

Bill Barr’s pre-spin on the Mueller report is looking shakier by the minute. The attorney general told us this morning that the White House had “fully cooperated” with the investigation.

Let’s not forget that Trump refused to be interviewed by Mueller – instead he only agreed to give written responses. Now, we get to see for the first time the president’s answers to the questions the special counsel posed him, reproduced as an appendix.

6.13pm BST

The Trump 2020 campaign has put out a statement about the Mueller report which makes a series of incorrect claims.

The statement, from Trump’s campaign manager Brad Parscale, claims Trump has been “fully and completely exonerated”, which is incorrect. Mueller specifically wrote that the report “does not exonerate” Trump.


“President Trump has been fully and completely exonerated yet again. Now the tables have turned, and it’s time to investigate the liars who instigated this sham investigation into President Trump, motivated by political retribution and based on no evidence whatsoever.

5.46pm BST

Mueller floats evidence in his report that Trump was personally involved in discussions over the WikiLeaks dumps of Democratic emails hacked by Russia.

The report says that when WikiLeaks began publishing emails stolen from the Democratic National Convention in July 2016, Trump’s campaign aides “reacted with enthusiasm to reports of the hacks”.

5.43pm BST

In Fox News land, there is nothing which damages Trump in this slew of disclosures, says Guardian fellow Lauren Aratani, who has been watching the right-wing news channel.

Rudy Giuliani, one of Trump’s personal legal team, declared victory during an interview with host Bill Hemmer this afternoon. But. Giuliani seemed to be relying on, in his words, it being “very, very hard to make an obstruction case”.

Look at page two of the report, [Mueller] says two statements: ‘He says we can’t conclude the president has commit a crime, but we can’t exonerate him.’ Well, nobody is asking to exonerate him. The reality is that the overarching principal of obstruction law is very, very hard to make an obstruction case, that there’s an underlying crime, so you have to assume the president is innocent, which he is.

I suspect he had a disagreement amongst his staff. The attorney general today laid out the classic view of obstruction. I had many debates with him. What the independent special counsel’s office is doing was trying to extend that statute beyond their reach.

5.34pm BST

After Paul Manafort and his deputy Rick Gates were indicted by a grand jury on multiple felony counts Manafort told Gates he had spoken to Trump’s personal counsel, and said: “We’ll be taken care of.”

The word “pardon” is not explicitly mentioned, but Mueller writes that Manafort told Gates he “had talked to the president’s personal counsel and they were ‘going to take care of us’”.

5.27pm BST

The Mueller report says that in June 2017, Trump directed told his White House counsel to call acting attorney general Rod Rosenstein and order him to fire Robert Mueller, Trump saying: “Mueller has to go.”

Don McGahn, the counsel, refused, deciding he would rather resign than trigger what he regarded as a potential “Saturday Night Massacre” – of Watergate firings fame.

5.06pm BST

We heard Barr say earlier this morning that Mueller divides the second half of his report into 10 episodes of possible obstruction of justice by Trump. In fact, the special counsel lists 11 key issues, which he headlines as:

1) How the Trump campaign reacted to reports that Russia was trying to interfere with the 2016 presidential election on Trump’s behalf, including response to WikiLeaks’ dump of emails

5.02pm BST

•Robert Mueller described 11 instances in which Donald Trump engaged in potential obstruction of justice and suggested that Congress might prosecute the acts as crimes, though Mueller stopped short of recommending such a prosecution.

•Mueller went much further than attorney general Bill Barr has suggested, the special counsel pointing to serious wrongdoing on Trump’s part that could amount to criminal activity. Mueller said that had his team concluded that the president had committed no crime, they would have said so. Instead, Mueller wrote: “Based on the facts and the applicable legal standards, however, we are unable to reach that judgment.”

4.46pm BST

Page 52 of the report has a heading: “Contacts with the campaign about WikiLeaks”, but there are a tantalizing number of redactions over the following six pages.

There is a reference to Ted Malloch, a London-based American academic: “Malloch recalled that [Jerome] Corsi also suggested that individuals in the ‘orbit’ of UK politician Nigel Farage might be able to contact [Julian] Assange and asked if Malloch knew them.

4.42pm BST

Earlier the House judiciary committee asked Robert Mueller to testify, and now the House intelligence committee, chaired by Adam Schiff, wants in on the act:

The House Intelligence Committee has formally invited Special Counsel Mueller to testify on the counterintelligence investigation.

After a two year investigation, the public deserves the facts, not Attorney General Barr’s political spin.

4.37pm BST

Trump is hosting a Wounded Warrior event at the White House today. He says he is having a “good day”:

“They’re having a good day, I’m having a good day too. It’s called no collusion, no obstruction,” Trump said.

“We do have to get to the bottom of these things, I will say. And this should never happen, I say in front of my friends, Wounded Warriors, but i just call them warriors … we just shook hands and they look great.”

“This should never happen to another president again, this hoax. It should never happen to another president again. Thank you.”

4.34pm BST

Trump believed he was “fucked” when Robert Mueller was appointed, according to this snippet spotted by Politico’s Dan Diamond:

Trump’s reported reaction when he was told Mueller was appointed: “This is the end of my presidency. I’m fucked.”

4.26pm BST

In his introduction to the second part of his report, on obstruction of justice, Robert Mueller goes much further than attorney general Bill Barr has suggested and points to serious wrongdoing on Trump’s part that could amount to criminal activity.

Mueller states that had his team concluded that the president had committed no crime, they would have said so. Instead, Mueller writes:

Based on the facts and the applicable legal standards, however, we are unable to reach that judgment.

4.22pm BST

Mueller’s investigation found that “in some instances, the [Trump] campaign was receptive” to Russian offers of help in the presidential election, according to the report.

The special counsel also found that the Trump campaign “expected it would benefit electorally from information stolen and released through Russian efforts”.

In sum the investigation established multiple links between Trump campaign officials and individuals tied to the Russian government.

Those links included Russian offers of assistance to the campaign. In some instances, the campaign was receptive to the offer, while in other instances the campaign officials shied away.

Here is the full sentence quoted selectively by Barr in his summary when reporting that Mueller did not find a Trump-Russia conspiracy.

4.03pm BST

The Department of Justice has published Robert Mueller’s report.

It’s here.

4.02pm BST

Donald Trump has done a tweet ripping off Game of Thrones.

3.47pm BST

One part of Bill Barr’s comments that is likely to be the subject of hot debate relates to the obstruction of justice piece of the Mueller report. The attorney general said 10 episodes of potential obstruction, all involving Trump, had been identified in the report.

He then went on to say that he and his deputy Rod Rosenstein had disagreed with Mueller over his legal thinking. They “felt that some of the episodes examined did not amount to obstruction as a matter of law”.

3.44pm BST

Guardian US’s reporting fellow, Lauren Aratani, is keeping an eye on the Fox News reaction to Barr’s presser and, later, Mueller’s report.

There seems to be a cheery vibe over there. And why wouldn’t there be! Barr has just told us Trump did nothing wrong!

As we talk about this back and forth, let’s just have a time-out and remember that William Barr, the attorney general, is now saying directly that a narrative pushed by the Democrats is false. The collusion in the Trump campaign, the White House and the Russians [… ]You heard William Barr say that again and again.

Let’s not forget, we haven’t heard from the Democrats because they haven’t seen the full report […] But [Representative] Adam Schiff and the House Democrats, for two years, they’ve been accusing, claiming they have evidence of collusion. The attorney general of the United States is again saying definitively that is not true.

3.38pm BST

House speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer put out a joint statement earlier, reiterating Jerrold Nadler’s call for Mueller to appear before Congress and laying into Bill Barr’s performance today.

(Take a deep breath because this is a long sentence):

Attorney General Barr’s regrettably partisan handling of the Mueller report, including his slanted March 24 summary letter, his irresponsible testimony before Congress last week, and his indefensible plan to spin the report in a press conference […] – hours before he allows the public or Congress to see it – have resulted in a crisis of confidence in his independence and impartiality.

3.27pm BST

Jerrold Nadler, chair of the House Judiciary committee, has written to Robert Mueller, asking him to appear “as soon as possible”.

“I request your testimony before the judiciary committee as soon as possible – but, in any event, no later than May 23 2019,” Nadler wrote.

It is clear Congress and the American people must hear from Special Counsel Robert Mueller in person to better understand his findings. We are now requesting Mueller to appear before @HouseJudiciary as soon as possible.

3.22pm BST

Russia has responded to the impending publication of the Mueller report. It seems the Kremlin isn’t that bothered:

“This is not an issue for us,” said Dmitry Peskov, the Kremlin spokesman, when asked if Moscow was concerned about the imminent release of Mueller’s report.

3.18pm BST

Maybe Rudy Giuliani ought to worry about his job as Donald Trump’s personal lawyer. William Barr seemingly just auditioned to replace him. His press conference was a performance that appeared to be aimed at an audience of one.

The attorney general sought to tug at the heart strings, telling how Trump “faced an unprecedented situation” as federal agents and prosecutors scrutinized his conduct before and after taking office and the media speculated personal culpability. The president “was frustrated and angered by a sincere belief that the investigation was undermining his presidency, propelled by his political opponents, and fueled by illegal leaks”, Barr said.

3.16pm BST

Some reaction from political journalists:

Barr seems to have set a new legal standard for a president who is frustrated with an investigation into his conduct. Anger and frustration can now be the basis for lashing out at a probe of alleged wrongdoing in the White House.

Imagine how frustrated Nixon was during Watergate when he suffered many many leaks (remember Deep Throat?) and political attacks. Yet he was still impeached for, inter alia, obstruction of justice.

The press conference ended after Barr was asked if there was any impropriety in him pre-spinning the report. (An aide announced mid-question that it’d be the last question.) Barr simply said “no.”

3.06pm BST

Barr has finished speaking. The attorney general’s press conference lasted 22 minutes, and was full of positive news for Trump, but also contained dubious claims and theories which seemed weighted in favor of the president.

Barr said that Trump did not obstruct justice – but in doing so admitted he had “disagreed with some of the special counsel’s legal theories” in coming to that conclusion.

The 10 episodes described by Robert Mueller in which he ponders whether the President attempted to obstruct justice will be the key read here. Barr decided there was no obstruction – says President faced an unprecedented situation, was angered/frustrated.

Just gonna leave this here

2.57pm BST

The Guardian offers clarity at this critical moment in American history. We’ll continue to provide factual reporting and insight to bring the whole truth to light as the most momentous political probe since Watergate unfolds.

But we need your help, too. What makes The Guardian different from so many others in media is our editorial independence, meaning we set our own agenda. Our journalism is free from commercial bias and not influenced by billionaire owners, politicians or shareholders. Every contribution we receive from readers like you, big or small, goes directly into funding our journalism. This support enables us to keep working as we do – but we must maintain and build on it for every year to come. Support the Guardian from as little as $1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you

2.57pm BST

“The report recounts ten episodes involving the President and discusses potential legal theories for connecting these actions to elements of an obstruction offense,” Barr says.

It’s hard to avoid the sense that Barr is going out of his way to defend Trump here. Because while Mueller documented those ten episodes, Barr says he and deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein:

Although the Deputy Attorney General and I disagreed with some of the Special Counsel’s legal theories and felt that some of the episodes examined did not amount to obstruction as a matter of law, we did not rely solely on that in making our decision.

BREAKING: Mueller report examines 10 episodes of potential obstruction by Trump. Barr says he and Rosenstein ‘disagreed with some of the special counsel’s legal theories.’

2.44pm BST

The special counsel “did not find that any person associated with the Trump camp illegally participated in the dissemination of” hacked materials – such as the hacked DNC emails – Barr says.

“After nearly two years of investigation”, Barr says, “the special counsel confirmed that the Russian government sponsored efforts” to influence the 2016 presidential election.

2.39pm BST

Bill Barr is speaking at a news conference ahead of the Mueller report being released.

“I’m committed to ensuring the greatest degree” of transparency, Barr said.

Trump will love this: Barr states unequivocally that “We now know that the Russian operations who perpetrated these [election hacking] schemes did not have the assistance of” Trump or the trump campaign.

Barr says that everyone “should be grateful” to have this confirmed.

Attorney General Barr uses the words the president has been using for months: “No collusion”

2.14pm BST

Trump has posted a video super-cut of him saying “no collusion”. You can watch it below if that’s your thing.

No Collusion – No Obstruction!

While this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.

2.10pm BST

Justice department spokeswoman Kerri Kupec said Barr’s 9.30am press conference will focus on:

Addressing the DoJ’s interactions with the White House over Mueller’s report, whether executive privilege was invoked, and the process Barr used to black out portions of the document.

I’m deeply troubled by reports that the WH is being briefed on the Mueller report AHEAD of its release. Now, DOJ is informing us we will not receive the report until around 11/12 tomorrow afternoon — AFTER Barr’s press conference. This is wrong. #ReleaseTheReport

1.50pm BST

Here’s our man! And he’s rolling out the hits:


The Greatest Political Hoax of all time! Crimes were committed by Crooked, Dirty Cops and DNC/The Democrats.

1.43pm BST

… could prove contentious.

Barr has said the redactions will be divided into four categories: grand jury material; classified material from US intelligence agencies or allies; details that could compromise ongoing investigations; and, in Barr’s words: “information that would unduly infringe on the personal privacy and reputational interests of peripheral third parties”.

Barr is seen as a Trump loyalist with a low opinion of Mueller’s investigation. Barr will probably be challenged to explain why certain material was deemed unfit for public view. Democrats in the House have already said they will subpoena the full report.

1.25pm BST

Hello and welcome to our live blog coverage of US political news. Today is a big day: we’ll finally get to see Robert Mueller’s report on Russian interference in the 2016 election.

The Department of Justice is due to release the report to Congress between 11am and noon ET, then released generally on the DoJ website after that.

Barr news conference at 9:30 am, Mueller report released at 11 am: In the annals of pathetic efforts to spin apparently bad news in Washington, this ranks near the top.

Sorry but this is not a press conference – it’s an opportunity for Barr to put a spin on the ball or defend himself. No one can ask real questions here.

Continue reading…
Source: russia
Link : Mueller report: Democrats round on Barr over ‘misleading’ Trump exoneration – as it happened



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