Mueller Report Says Trump Sought to Seize Control of Russia Probe

Compiled from Associated Press reports
Updated: April 18, 2019 11:42 AM

Special counsel Robert Mueller's report reveals how President Donald Trump repeatedly sought to seize control of the Russia probe.


The 10 episodes scrutinized by Mueller include Trump's firing of FBI Director James Comey, the president's directive to subordinates to have Mueller fired and efforts to encourage witnesses not to cooperate. Mueller says Trump's efforts "were mostly unsuccessful," but that was because the people surrounding the president "declined to carry out orders to accede to his requests."

The president's lawyers have said Trump's conduct fell within his constitutional powers, but Mueller's team deemed the episodes were deserving of scrutiny to determine whether crimes were committed.

A redacted version of Mueller's report was released Thursday morning.

The report is two volumes and 448 pages long including attachments. Its first volume details Russian election interference and the second relates to whether President Donald Trump obstructed justice.

"While the investigation identified numerous links between individuals with ties to the Russian government and individuals associated with the Trump Campaign, the evidence was not sufficient to support criminal charges," the report says.

"The investigation established that several individuals affiliated with the Trump Campaign lied to the office, and to Congress, about their interactions with Russian-affiliated individuals and related matters," the report says. Several people have already pleaded guilty to lying to investigators.

The report includes President Donald Trump's written responses submitted in the Russia probe. Trump declined a sit-down interview request from the special counsel.

Mueller's team was dissatisfied with written responses from Trump, but decided against issuing a subpoena for an interview.

Trump told Mueller he had no recollection of several key events in Mueller's probe, including a 2016 meeting at Trump Tower between top aides and a Russian lawyer offering aid to his campaign. Trump also told Mueller he had no recollection that he was told that Russian President Vladimir Putin wanted to aid his campaign or hurt Hillary Clinton's 2016 effort, or that any foreign leader wanted to help his candidacy.

In the report, prosecutors call Trump's answers "inadequate." They considered issuing a subpoena for Trump, but decided against it after weighing the likelihood of a long legal battle.

Prosecutors also said they had enough information from other sources to draw "relevant factual conclusions on intent and credibility."

The report says Trump reacted to news that Mueller had been appointed by saying it was the "end of his presidency."

The report reads: "According to notes written by Hunt, 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 f-----."

Mueller investigated multiple instances of Trump attempting to curtail the special counsel probe as part of determining whether the president committed obstruction of justice.

The report appears to be most heavily redacted in its first section, which covers Russia's meddling in the 2016 election and examines contacts between Russian representatives and the Trump campaign. The report concludes there was no criminal culpability by Trump aides.

Several pages in that first section are almost entirely blacked out. The report's second section, examining possible obstruction by Trump, appears more lightly redacted.

The Justice Department's careful excisions begin as early as the fourth page of the report.

Barr said he was withholding grand jury and classified information as well as portions relating to ongoing investigation and the privacy or reputation of uncharged "peripheral" people.

In referencing an oligarch who headed up a team of Russian tech experts who used U.S. social media to exploit American political controversies, Justice officials blacked out details about the man's ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

President Donald Trump says he's "having a good day" following the release of the report. He says that no president should ever have to go through what he did again.

Speaking at an unrelated White House event, he says, "It was called no collusion, no obstruction." And add, "there never was, by the way, and there never will be."

Trump is also renewing his calls for an investigation into the origins of the inquiry, saying "We do have to get to the bottom of these things."

He says: "this should never happen to another president again, this hoax."

Donald Trump's legal team says the results of the investigation are a "total victory for the president."

The lawyers say in a statement that Mueller's report is "nothing more than an attempt to rehash old allegations." The statement came as Mueller's report was publicly released.

Mueller found no criminal conspiracy between the Trump campaign and the Russia government to interfere in the 2016 election. He did not exonerate Trump on the question of whether he committed obstruction of justice.


Compiled from Associated Press reports

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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