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

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The special counsel found 11 instances in which Trump and his campaign’s actions may have amounted to obstruction of justice

The special counsel Robert Mueller’s highly anticipated report on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election was made public on Thursday, examining potential coordination between the Trump campaign and Moscow and whether Donald Trump obstructed justice.

The special counsel found 10 episodes in which Trump’s own actions may have amounted to obstruction of justice, detailing several instances in which the president’s demands to interfere with the investigation were blocked by his aides. And in a separate instance, it was found there were additional efforts by the Trump campaign before the election to obscure its contacts with Russian figures.

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 however 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.

The Russian contacts consisted of business connections, offers of assistance to the Campaign, invitations for candidate Trump and Putin to meet in person, invitations for Campaign officials and representatives of the Russian government to meet, and policy positions seeking improved U.S.-Russian relations.

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. Ultimately, the investigation did not establish that the Campaign coordinated or conspired with the Russian government in its election-interference activities.

When Sessions told the President that a Special Counsel had been appointed, the President slumped back in his chair and said, ‘Oh my God. This is terrible. This is the end of my Presidency. I’m fucked.’

The President returned to the consequences of the appointment and said, ‘Everyone tells me if you get one of these independent counsels it ruins your presidency. It takes years and years and I won’t be able to do anything. This is the worst thing that ever happened to me.’

The Office ultimately concluded that, even if the principal legal questions were resolved favorably to the government, a prosecution would encounter difficulties proving that Campaign officials or individuals connected to the Campaign willfully violated the law.

The day after firing Comey, the President told Russian officials that he had ‘faced great pressure because of Russia’, which had been ‘taken off’ by Comey’s firing.

The conclusion that Congress may apply the obstruction laws to the President’s corrupt exercise of the powers of office accords with our constitutional system of checks and balances and the principle that no person is above the law.

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