The U.S. Justice Department released a detailed report from special counsel Robert Mueller to the public on Thursday morning. After a month long probe, the special counsel found there was not sufficient evidence to conclude that President Donald Trump or his campaign associates were involved in an illegal conspiracy with Russia to interfere in the 2016 U.S. election.
Mr. Mueller and his team identified multiple contacts between Russian and Trump campaign advisers after the election and during the campaign. However, the special counsel did not that those contacts added up to a criminal conspiracy. The redacted report, which was submitted to members of Congress by Attorney General William Barr, detailed efforts by Mr. Trump to end the probe.
Investigators debated whether Trump had obstructed justice, including by sacking FBI Director James Comey. The report says there was “substantial evidence” that the president fired Mr. Comey because of his “unwillingness to publicly state that the president was not personally under investigation.”
Trump allegedly pressed Comey to go easy on Michael Flynn, the then national security adviser, who was under probe over his contacts with Russia. Mueller team concluded that by virtue of Trump’s position as president of the United States, he had complete authority to carry out several questionable acts including firing Comey.
Mr. Barr held a press conference before submitting the copies of the report to lawmakers. The AG said he granted the president’s lawyers access to the report earlier this week before making it public. According to the Mr. Barr, the lawyers did not ask for any redactions beyond those already in the report.
The redacted report has Democrats raging and arguing that Barr is attempting to pre-emptively protect the president from any potentially damaging conclusions. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) tweeted, “It’s a disgrace to see an Attorney General acting as if he’s the personal attorney and publicist for the President of the United States.”
Mr. Barr is already expected to appear before the Senate Judiciary Committees and House on May 1 and 2. Meanwhile, several top Democrats including Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi also calling on the special counsel to testify before Congress.
Republicans, on the other hand, celebrated the conclusion of the investigation, arguing that special counsel has cleared the president of any claims of obstructing justice. Doug Collins, the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee tweeted, “No collusion. No obstruction…No cover up when there’s nothing to cover up.”
In response to Mueller report, the S&P 500 rose 0.25%, or 7.28 points, as of 3:00 p.m. ET. The Dow advanced 0.55%, or 145.5 points, while the Nasdaq were up 0.05%, or 4.16 points.