news 1 month ago

Read Trump's Own Answers to Mueller

Newser — Newser Editors

It's Mueller Day. As you've surely heard by now, the 448-page Mueller report is out in redacted form and available to the public. Here's a look at the basics and highlights from coverage:

  • 2 biggies: On collusion, Mueller's team found smoke but no fire.

Or as the report puts it, "numerous" contacts with Russians, but "not sufficient" evidence to file charges. Read the specifics here. On obstruction, Mueller's report detailed 10 possible areas where Trump ran afoul of the law, but cited "fairness concerns" in declining to reach a prosecutorial judgment.

Details here.

  • Key excerpts: Get a quick sense via snippets gleaned from the Wall Street Journal.
  • Trump's answers: The president didn't sit for an interview, but he did provide written answers to questions, and the AP has the full text.

One example, when asked about saying during a political rally that Russia should find Hillary Clinton's deleted emails: "I made the statement quoted in Question II (d) in jest and sarcastically, as was apparent to any objective observer. The context of the statement is evident in the full reading or viewing of the July 27, 2016 press conference, and I refer you to the publicly available transcript and video of that press conference."

  • Obstruction theory: Mueller's team wrote that the "Constitution does not categorically and permanently immunize the president,” and proceeded to lay out examples of Trump seemingly trying to disrupt the investigation, per the Washington Post. So why no conclusion on possible charges? "The team appears to have decided that the Justice Department opinion that a sitting president can’t be indicted meant that the report should leave the issue of whether to pursue an obstruction charge to Congress," per the Post.
  • From the White House: Trump has been quiet since the report's release, but aide Kellyanne Conway calls this "the best day" since Trump's election, reports the Hill. Trump, she said, had received a "clean bill of health."
  • Counter-view: The afternoon headline at Politico: "Mueller whacks Trump with evidence of obstruction," followed by this paragraph: "Special counsel Robert Mueller's long-awaited report is more damning than President Donald Trump has publicly claimed, detailing Trump's aggressive efforts to interfere in the Justice Department's Russia probe and declining to rule out that Trump obstructed justice."
  • New York Times: The afternoon lead story says that Mueller "revealed a frantic, monthslong effort by President Trump to thwart the investigation into Russia’s 2016 election interference.

... (The) report laid out how a team of prosecutors working for Mr. Mueller, the special counsel, wrestled with whether the president’s actions added up to an indictable offense of obstruction of justice for a sitting president.

They ultimately decided not to charge Mr. Trump, citing numerous legal and factual constraints, but pointedly declined to exonerate him."

  • From the right: To reiterate, no evidence of collusion, and no conclusion on obstruction. "The Media has lost what’s left of its collective mind," writes Melissa Mackenzie at the American Spectator. "Like a madman in a straight-jacket locked in a padded room, they’re bouncing around furious, frustrated, and frothing at the mouth.

Their whole raison d’etre for the last two years poof, gone."

  • The pee tape: Yes, Mueller's report addresses the salacious allegations, and Slate sums things up: "Unfortunately for Twitter, this section does not confirm the existence of the pee tape or really anything new about it.

Instead, it just relays that a Russian businessman involved in the Trump Tower Moscow project at one point said that the tapes were fake." The link has the full text from the report.

  • Democrats: House Judiciary Committee chief Jerry Nadler says he will issue a subpoena for the full, unredacted report, reports NBC News. "Even in its incomplete form, the Mueller report outlines disturbing evidence that President Trump engaged in obstruction of justice and other misconduct." House intel chief Adam Schiff accused Attorney General William Barr of acting more like Trump's "personal attorney" than the attorney general.

More From Newser

This article originally appeared on Newser: Read Trump's Own Answers to Mueller