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IN BRIEF: A quick summary of AG Barr’s letter to Congress

No coordination or collusion between Trump campaign and Russians

March 24, 2019

6:09 PM

24 March 2019

6:09 PM

According to Attorney General William Barr’s summary of the Mueller investigation:

  1. Russia did try to interfere in the election, hacked the Democrats’ emails, and released materials through WikiLeaks
  2. No coordination or collusion between Trump campaign and Russians
  3. Mueller offers no conclusion about obstruction of justice
  4. Barr concludes that no charges of obstruction are warranted under DOJ rules because there was no underlying crime to obstruct
  5. Full transparency of Mueller report conflicts with rules of rules of federal criminal procedure, which make Grand Jury proceedings secret

Here are the essential quotes from Barr’s letter.

Collusion:

  • The Mueller report states: ‘The investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.’

Obstruction:

  • Barr on Mueller report: ‘The Special Counsel therefore did not draw a conclusion – one way or the other – as to whether the examined conduct constituted obstruction. Instead, for each of the relevant  actions investigated, the report sets out evidence on both sides of the question and leaves unresolved what the Special Counsel views as “difficult issues” of law and fact concerning whether the President’s actions and intent could be viewed as obstruction . . The Special Counsel states that “while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.”’
  • Barr on DOJ rules: ‘Generally speaking, to obtain and sustain an obstruction conviction, the government would need to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a person, acting with corrupt intent, engaged in obstructive conduct with a sufficient nexus to a pending or contemplated proceeding. 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, had a nexus to a pending or contemplated proceeding, and were done with corrupt intent.’
  • Barr and Rosenstein conclusions: ‘Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and I have concluded that the evidence developed during the Special Counsel’s investigation is not sufficient to establish that the President committed an obstruction-of-justice offense. Our determination was made without regard to, and is not based on, the constitutional considerations that surround the indictment and criminal prosecution of a sitting president.’

Transparency

    • Barr: ‘The Attorney General is reviewing what information from the report can be released, given Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure restricting “matters occurring before a Grand Jury”’
    • Barr does mention other possible limitation on full transparency, such as rules against releasing classified materials or the president asserting Executive Privilege

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