Main findings of two-year report into possible collusion with Russia

While Attorney-General William Barr (above), in his letter to lawmakers, concluded that President Donald Trump had not obstructed justice, he acknowledged the Special Counsel was inconclusive on it.
While Attorney-General William Barr (above), in his letter to lawmakers, concluded that President Donald Trump had not obstructed justice, he acknowledged the Special Counsel was inconclusive on it. PHOTO: REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
While Attorney-General William Barr, in his letter to lawmakers, concluded that President Donald Trump had not obstructed justice, he acknowledged the Special Counsel was inconclusive on it.
While Attorney-General William Barr, in his letter to lawmakers, concluded that President Donald Trump had not obstructed justice, he acknowledged the Special Counsel was inconclusive on it. PHOTO: REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

WASHINGTON • US Attorney-General William Barr has released a summary of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's long-awaited report into allegations that Mr Donald Trump's campaign colluded with Russia in the 2016 presidential election.

Here are the main findings of the two-year investigation the President regularly denounced as a witch hunt, before claiming vindication upon its completion.

COLLUSION

Mr Mueller found that there was conclusive evidence that Russia did interfere in the election, both through a coordinated campaign of disinformation and by hacking e-mails from Mrs Hillary Clinton's election team.

In a letter to lawmakers, Mr Barr said Mr Mueller found that there had been "multiple offers from Russian-affiliated individuals to assist the Trump campaign".

But quoting directly from Mr Mueller's report, Mr Barr said that the Special Counsel's investigation "did not establish that members of the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities".

Mr Barr's letter was silent on whether Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the election meddling, as US intelligence agencies previously found. Mr Mueller indicted two dozen Russians for hacking Democrats' computers and social media meddling during the campaign.

OBSTRUCTION 

Many observers had predicted the biggest danger to Mr Trump came from a possible accusation of obstruction of justice, particularly over his decision to sack former FBI director James Comey, who headed the investigation before Mr Mueller.

But Mr Barr said that the evidence outlined in Mr Mueller's report "is not sufficient to establish that the President committed an obstruction-of-justice offence".

"In cataloguing the President's actions, many of which took place in public view, the report identifies no actions that, in our judgment, constitute obstructive conduct," Mr Barr added in his letter.

But while Mr Barr - who was appointed by Mr Trump - concluded that the President had not obstructed justice, he acknowledged that Mr Mueller himself was inconclusive on the question of obstruction. "The Special Counsel therefore did not draw a conclusion - one way or another - as to whether the examined conduct constituted obstruction," he said. "The Special Counsel states that 'while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him'."

NO MORE INDICTMENTS

Mr Trump's former national security adviser Mike Flynn, his former personal lawyer Michael Cohen and his campaign chairman Paul Manafort are among the 34 individuals already indicted by Mr Mueller, but they will be the last, according to Mr Barr.

"The report does not recommend any further indictments nor did the Special Counsel obtain any sealed indictments that have yet to be made public," Mr Barr said in his letter to the heads of the Senate and House judiciary committees.

FULL REPORT WILL BE CENSORED

Mr Barr wrote that the report includes evidence that should be protected because it came from secret grand jury proceedings.

He said he plans to release more information soon after working with Mr Mueller to expunge protected information, but he did not set a timeline.

Democrats are already demanding the full report, which could lead to a protracted fight that could eventually land in the Supreme Court.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, BLOOMBERG

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 26, 2019, with the headline 'Main findings of two-year report into possible collusion with Russia'. Print Edition | Subscribe