In a four-page letter summarizing the Mueller investigation, Attorney General William P. Barr states the Special Counsel did not find any conspiracy or coordination between the Trump campaign and Russian authorities.
Special counsel Robert Mueller defined coordination as an express or tacit agreement between the Russian government and the Trump campaign on election interference.
According to the report, there were two Russian efforts to interfere with the 2016 elections. The first was conducted by the Russian Internet Research Agency. This effort was marked by disinformation and social media campaigns intended to sow social discord through the use of what are being called “troll farms.” Mueller and his team brought charges against a number of Russian nationals and entities in connection with these efforts.
The second effort revolved around Russian government computer hacking operations intended to gather and disseminate information – the now infamous Democratic Party and Clinton campaign emails. WikiLeaks is named as a party to these efforts. Mueller and his team filed charges against several Russian military officers in regards to these efforts.
In neither case did the Special Counsel find that the Trump campaign or any campaign associates coordinated with the parties involved in these efforts.
Obstruction of Justice
The Special Counsel did not come to a conclusion regarding obstruction of justice. “While this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him,” Mueller stated.
However, in his letter, Barr states that because there was no evidence of collusion, there could be no obstruction.
“…the absence of such evidence bears upon the President’s intent with respect to obstruction. 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 cataloging the President’s actions, many of which took place in public view, the report identifies no actions that in our judgement, constitute obstructive conduct, had a nexus to a pending or contemplated proceeding, and were done with corrupt intent, each of which, under the Department’s principles of federal prosecution guiding charging decision would need to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt to establish an obstruction-of-justice offense.”
It’s Not Over Yet
According to Barr, while his “goal and intent is to release as much of the Special Counsel’s report” as he can, some of it has to be kept secret – because it may be part of current or future criminal proceedings.
“Based on my discussions with the Special Counsel and my initial review, it is apparent that the report contains material that is or could be subject to Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 6(e), which imposes restrictions on the use and disclosure of information related to ‘matter[s] occurring before [a] grand jury.”
“This restriction protects the integrity of grand jury proceedings and ensures that the unique and invaluable investigative powers of a grand jury are used strictly for their intended criminal justice function.”
Barr has requested Mueller’s help in identifying any information contained in the report that is or may be used by a grand jury for criminal proceedings.
Jenn Bentley is a writer and editor originally from Cadiz, Kentucky. Her writing has been featured in publications such as The Examiner, The High Tech Society, FansShare, Yahoo News, and others. When she’s not writing or editing, Jenn spends her time raising money for Extra Life and advocating for autism awareness.