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Scot Scoop Explains: the Mueller report What we know so far

What is the Mueller report?

The Mueller Report is the investigation conducted by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III. Mueller was appointed by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein as Special Counsel overseeing an investigation into any possible Russian interference into the 2016 presidential election. As a special counsel, Mueller is somewhat removed from the chain of command at the Justice Department, allowing him to operate with a degree of independence.

Mueller was appointed on May 17, 2017. On Friday Mar. 22, almost two years later, Mueller submitted his findings to Attorney General William P. Barr. This signals an official end to the investigation on possible Russian influence on the 2016 election.

What did it say?

We don't actually know what the report said because Barr has not yet chosen to release the report to Congress and the public, so virtually no one except for officials at the Department of Justice have read the report in its entirety. Barr has submitted a summary of the report to Congress, but the full report has not been released yet.

According to Barr, there is no evidence that President Donald Trump or any of his aides coordinated with the Russian government's election interference.

The report had two parts to it: Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election, and Obstruction of Justice.

Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election

According to Barr's summary, "The special counsel's investigation did not find that the Trump campaign or anyone associated with it conspired or coordinated with Russia in its efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election."

There were two main efforts to influence the 2016 election. One involved the spread of disinformation with the aim to interfere with the election, and one involved computer hacking activities.

Also according to Barr's summary, the special counsel did not find that the Trump campaign or anyone associated with it conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in these efforts.

Obstruction of Justice

According to Barr's summary, the special counsel made a "thorough factual investigation into these matters," and did not draw a conclusion on obstruction of justice "one way or the other" on whether the conduct of President Trump constitutes obstruction of justice.

WHILE THIS REPORT DOES NOT CONCLUDE THAT THE PRESIDENT COMMITTED A CRIME, IT ALSO DOES NOT EXONERATE HIM

-The special counsel's report, according to Barr's summary.

Photo credit: Gage Skidmore, CC-BY-SA 2.0

During the course of the investigation, Mueller and his team indicted or got guilty pleas from 34 people and three companies. This includes six former Trump advisers, 26 Russian nationals, three Russian companies, one California man, and one London-based lawyer. Seven of these people (including five of the six former Trump advisers) have pleaded guilty. Because the United States and Russia have no extradition treaty, the 26 Russian nationals will likely not face any consequences in the U.S.

When will the public be able to see the full report?

my goal and intent is to release as much of the special counsel's report as i can consistent with applicable law, regulations, and departmental policies.

There is not guarantee that the public will ever be able to see the full text of the report. Barr is limited in his release of the report due to any information in it that may be subject to Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 6(e), which limits disclosure of certain grand jury information in a criminal investigation and prosecution.

The House of Representatives unanimously passed a non-binding resolution on March 14 to urge Barr to make the report public once it was completed. Now that the report has been completed, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi of California and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York issued a joint statement, urging Barr to make it public, while also criticizing some of the conclusions made in the summary. "AG Barr’s letter raises as many questions as it answers. The fact that Mueller’s report does not exonerate the president on a charge as serious as obstruction of justice demonstrates how urgent it is that the full report & documentation be made public without any further delay," said Pelosi and Schumer in their statement.

Photo credit: The United States Department of Justice [Public domain]

What happens next?

Until the full report is released (if at all), the public is relying on the summary given by Barr. For President Trump, this investigation has dug into two years of his presidency and has cast a shadow around him. There are still congressional investigations surrounding Trump, which will continue on. The report does point to any reason for impeachment, nor have congressional leaders called for impeachment since the conclusion of the report (read more about why impeachment is unlikely here). The President has long denied the necessity of this investigation, calling it a "witch hunt" and "presidential harassment," as well as frequently denying any evidence of collusion.

Featured photo: James Ledbetter, CC BY-SA 2.0

Created By
Nina Heller
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