Robert Mueller's report gives a decisive answer on the question of criminal collusion — but it leaves the obstruction issue to the attorney general
Attorney General Bill Barr announced Sunday that he and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein have concluded that there is no basis to bring a charge of obstruction of justice charge against President Donald Trump based Special Counsel Robert Mueller's findings. He also said in a letter to Congress that Mueller's team did not find evidence that Trump participated in the underlying crime regarding Russia's interference in the 2016 election.
“The Special Counsel did not find that the Trump campaign or anyone associated with it conspired or coordinated with Russia in its efforts to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election," Barr's letter said.
It explained that Mueller decided not to answer in his own report whether Trump decided to obstruct justice in the course of the investigation. In this way, he did not "exonerate" Trump or conclude he committed a crime — he simply laid out the evidence relevant to the question. However, Barr said that he and Rosenstein have concluded that the conduct does not amount to obstruction, particularly in light of the fact that Mueller concluded that Trump did not coordinate or conspire with Russia.
Mueller's report officially ended on Friday when the special counsel handed over a report on his findings to the attorney general. The end of his report had been expected by many Justice Department watchers in recent weeks, and anticipation of the investigation's end had been building.
In his letter to Congress on Friday, the attorney general told lawmakers that he had not at any point overruled an investigatory step Mueller had wanted to take — which, according to department regulations, he can only do as long as he informs the legislative branch.
Barr has said that while he is hoping to be transparent as possible, some of Mueller's initial report may not be suitable to be released publicly. He said he would consult with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and Mueller to determine which parts should be made available.
This story is being updated.