mueller report
April 22, 2019

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) isn't ruling anything out.

Pelosi addressed her Democratic colleagues on Monday with a letter detailing how she thinks the party should proceed following last week's public release of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report on 2016 Russian election interference and the Trump campaign's conduct surrounding the meddling.

In the letter, Pelosi refrains from choosing a hard path about how to proceed — she writes that the party consists of a range of members, some of whom wish to continue investigating Mueller's findings, while others want to move directly toward impeachment procedures. But the speaker did say that, either way, the party must be "free from passion or prejudice" as they proceed, and rely "strictly on the presentation of fact."

"It is clear that the President has, at a minimum, engaged in highly unethical and unscrupulous behavior which does not bring honor to the office he holds," she wrote.

Pelosi also attached a letter Democratic leaders sent rejecting Attorney General William Barr's suggestion to provide an unredacted version of the Mueller report only to a limited group of members of Congress in a classified setting. Instead, she argued Democrats need to insist on the "public's right to know." Read Pelosi's full letter below. Tim O'Donnell

April 20, 2019

It's fair to say that the Mueller report did not knock down any partisan barriers. Reactions were typically divided. Democrats vowed to continue pursuing the report's findings, with some prominent members of the party, like Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), calling for impeachment proceedings to begin. Republicans, though, mostly remained silent.

Even some members of the GOP who tend to risk criticizing the president more openly remained measured in their responses. Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), for example, said that Mueller's findings on 2016 Russian election interference and the Trump campaign's conduct surrounding the meddling painted an "unflattering" image of Trump. But she also said the investigation was a "very thorough undertaking" that seems to have "changed very few minds in Washington," perhaps implying that the results speak for themselves.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said that while the level of Russian interference revealed in the report was alarming, Americans should be "relieved" their president did not collaborate with Moscow.

However, not everyone on the right side of the aisle is at ease with the findings of the report. Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah), who has had his battles with Trump in the past, said in a statement that he is "sickened" by the findings, although he said the "business of government" can now "move on."

Fox News' judicial analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano, meanwhile, suggested on Friday that there may be enough evidence in the Mueller report to prosecute the president. He added that, regardless, the report does show a "venal, amoral, deceptive Donald Trump." Tim O'Donnell

April 20, 2019

Special Counsel Robert Mueller has reportedly left Attorney General William Barr and other members of the Justice Department perplexed, The Washington Post reports.

Their confusion stems from Mueller's decision to not reach a conclusion on whether President Trump obstructed justice during Mueller's probe into 2016 Russian election interference and the Trump campaign's conduct surrounding the meddling. In public, Barr — who reportedly considers Mueller a friend — said it was Mueller's "prerogative" to make the call, or lack thereof, on obstruction.

But privately, Barr and Assistant Attorney General Rod Rosenstein disagreed with Mueller's legal theories. In the report, Mueller's team pointed to a long-standing legal opinion at the Justice Department's Office of Legal Council, which says that a sitting president should not be indicted. Mueller reportedly concluded that meant they could not accuse the president of a crime and, at times, the report implies that Congress should assume the role of making prosecutorial decisions.

This reportedly surprised Barr who did think Mueller had the authority to make such a decision (Barr eventually came to the conclusion that the evidence did not constitute obstruction.) Jonathan Turley, a law professor at George Washington University, told the Post that it was, indeed, a surprise that Mueller leaned so heavily on the OLC opinion.

"It doesn't make any sense, because on collusion, he seemed to be perfectly empowered to reach a conclusion on whether the president committed a crime," Turley said. "The other problem is that his mandate clearly allowed him to make a decision." Read more at The Washington Post. Tim O'Donnell

March 27, 2019

After taking a look at Attorney General William Barr's letter summarizing his interpretation of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report, conservative lawyer George Conway has a few takeaways, which he details in a Washington Post op-ed published Tuesday night.

The husband of White House counselor Kellyanne Conway and one of President Trump's most vocal critics, Conway said the question of whether Trump obstructed justice has always been "dicey." It's not surprising, he writes, that in the summary, Barr quoted Mueller as saying it raised "'difficult issues' of law and fact concerning whether the president's actions and intent could be viewed as obstruction."

Looking at facts, "obstruction turns on what's in a defendant's mind — often a difficult thing to determine, and especially difficult with a mind as twisted as Trump's," Conway said. What's amazing is Mueller saying his report "does not conclude that the president committed a crime" but "it also does not exonerate him." This is "a stunning thing for a prosecutor to say," Conway writes. If the report does not exonerate Trump, "there must be something pretty damning in it about him, even if it might not suffice to prove a crime beyond a reasonable doubt."

Barr said in his letter that Mueller "ultimately determined not to make a traditional prosecutorial judgment" about obstruction, and Conway reasons that it's "hard to escape the conclusion that Mueller wrote his report to allow the American people and Congress to decide what to make of the facts. And that is what should — must — happen now." One thing Conway says he's certain of is "if the charge were unfitness for office, the verdict would already be in: Guilty beyond a reasonable doubt." Read his entire op-ed at The Washington Post. Catherine Garcia

January 31, 2019

President Trump said Wednesday that he has not spoken with Acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker about Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

During a Monday press conference, Whitaker said he has been "fully briefed" on the investigation, and he thinks it's "close to being completed." While being interviewed by the conservative news outlet The Daily Caller on Wednesday, Trump said that "after almost two years, it certainly should be" nearing its conclusion.

The Daily Caller also asked Trump about signing off on the report Mueller will ultimately send to the attorney general. "They'll have to make their decision within the Justice Department," he said. "They will make the decision as to what they do." Trump added that he could have "taken a much a different stance, I could have gotten involved in this ... I could have terminated everything, I could have ended everything. I've chosen to stay out of it ... but I had the right to ... I had the right to end everything. ... Many people thought that's what I should do." Catherine Garcia

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