Trump Calls Mueller Report a ‘Total Exoneration’

March 24, 2019 Updated: March 24, 2019

Following the release of a summary of the long-awaited investigation into alleged Russian election interference, President Trump described it as a “total exoneration.”

A summary of the investigation headed by Special Counsel Robert Mueller was released by Attorney General William Barr on March 24, saying, “The investigation did not establish that members of the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.”

“While this report does not conclude that the president committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him,” Barr quoted Mueller as saying in the summary, referring to obstruction of justice in the case. Mueller left it up to Barr about whether to charge Trump with the crime of obstruction of justice.

Barr and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein decided Mueller’s evidence didn’t establish that the president committed the obstruction of justice crime, according to the summary.

In remarks to reporters on March 24, Trump said, “It’s a shame that our country had to go through this. To be honest, it’s a shame that your president had to go through this.”

“It was a complete and total exoneration,” he said, adding that it was an “illegal takedown that failed and hopefully somebody is going to be looking at their other side.”

On Twitter, the President made a more succinct statement.

“No Collusion, No Obstruction, Complete and Total EXONERATION. KEEP AMERICA GREAT!” he tweeted.

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Ann Mueller and former special counsel Robert Mueller walk on March 24, 2019 in Washington. (Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders echoed the President’s remarks just minutes later.

“The Special Counsel did not find any collusion and did not find any obstruction. AG Barr and DAG Rosenstein further determined there was no obstruction. The findings of the Department of Justice are a total and complete exoneration of the President of the United States,” she tweeted.

Millions of Trump supporters, meanwhile, “have been completely vindicated.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell noted that President Trump was right about the Russia investigation, according to The Associated Press.

McConnell stated that the investigation confirms Trump’s account that there was “no effort” by his campaign “to conspire or coordinate with Russia” to influence the 2016 election.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., leaves the chamber after Senate Democrats blocked President Donald Trump’s request for $5.7 billion to construct his long-sought wall along the U.S-Mexico border, as a partial government shutdown continues, at the Capitol in Washington, Jan. 24, 2019. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

The Republican leader said he appreciates Barr’s goal of “producing as much information as possible” from Mueller’s investigation. But McConnell declined to call for the report’s full release, as many Democrats want.

McConnell also warned that Russia’s ongoing efforts to interfere in U.S. institutions “are dangerous and disturbing.”

Trump campaign manager on March 24, Brad Parscale, offered a stark rebuke to Democrats’ clamoring about alleged Russian interference.

He said, “Today marks the day that President Trump has been completely and fully vindicated by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, exposing the Russia collusion conspiracy theory for the sham that it always was and catching Democrats in an elaborate web of lies and deceit. ”

Parscale accused the Democrats of taking the country “on a frantic, chaotic, conspiracy-laden roller coaster for two years” as they were “distraught and blindsided” by Trump’s 2016 win, AP reported.

Democrats Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer said Barr isn’t “a neutral observer,” reiterating their calls for the full, un-redacted release of Mueller’s report.

Pelosi, the House speaker, and Schumer, who is Senate Democratic leader, said in a joint statement that Barr’s letter to Congress about the report “raises as many questions as it answers.”

“Given Mr. Barr’s public record of bias against the Special Counsel’s inquiry, he is not a neutral observer and is not in a position to make objective determinations about the report,” they added. “And most obviously, for the President to say he is completely exonerated directly contradicts the words of Mr. Mueller and is not to be taken with any degree of credibility.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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