By Brooke Singman, Fox News–
The Justice Department on Thursday released to Congress and the public Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on his nearly two-year investigation into Russian meddling and potential collusion with Trump campaign associates during the 2016 presidential election.
“[T]he investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities,” the report said, while also saying there were “links” between the two.
The special counsel report also added that the evidence about the controversial June 9, 2016 Trump Tower meeting with members of the campaign and Russian attorney Natalia Veselnitskaya, and WikiLeaks’s “release of hacked materials” was “not sufficient to charge a criminal campaign-finance violation.”
“Further, the evidence was not sufficient to charge that any member of the Trump campaign conspired with representatives of the Russian government to interfere in the 2016 presidential election,” the report said.
The version of the nearly 500-page report that the Justice Department made public Thursday includes redactions, consistent with Barr’s plan to black out portions of the document—including grand jury material, information the intelligence community believes would reveal intelligence sources and methods, any material that could interfere with ongoing prosecutions and information that could implicate the privacy or reputational interests of “peripheral players.”
The redactions in the report were color-coded, as Barr said they’d be and labeled with the reasoning behind each redaction. The material that is redacted provides the reasoning of “grand jury material,” “personal [privacy,” “investigative technique;” and “harm to ongoing matter.”
The report also dove into possible obstruction of justice allegations, while stating the special counsel did not make a traditional prosecutorial judgment regarding the president’s conduct on that front. The report noted that they obtained evidence about the president’s “actions and intent,” and that presented “difficult issues that would need to be resolved” if they were making a traditional judgment.
“While this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him,” the report stated.
Democrats, for weeks, demanded to see the full, unredacted report, and blasted Barr for resisting their requests. Barr, though, said that along with the help of the special counsel’s office, he planned to “color code the decisions from the report and provide explanatory notes describing the basis for each redaction.”
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., has already vowed to move “very quickly” to issue subpoenas for the full report should he and his colleagues not be satisfied with the amount of, and basis for, redactions.
The partisan warfare that has marked the probe from the start extended into the report’s release day, with Barr coming under fire from Democrats for his decision to hold a press conference in advance. Barr already had come under fire from Democrats after he issued a four-page summary of the special counsel report, where he stated there was no evidence of collusion between members of the Trump campaign and Russia during the 2016 campaign.
The special counsel also reviewed whether the president had obstructed justice in any way, but ultimately did not come to a conclusion on that issue. Barr and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, though, said the evidence was “not sufficient to establish that the President committed an obstruction-of-justice offense.”
Rosenstein defended Barr’s conduct last week and told The Wall Street Journal that the idea Barr was trying to mislead people was “completely bizarre.”
The evidence detailed in the report related to allegations of obstruction of justice, though, is likely to come under intense scrutiny from congressional Democrats, and could be used in their sweeping Trump-related investigations.
The president’s legal team, in anticipation of obstruction of justice claims in the report, has prepared their own report to counter the allegations.
“They assumed all along that there was going to be a finding of no collusion, so the rebuttal is about obstruction,” a source close to Trump’s legal team told Fox News. “They are preparing a rebuttal to presumed allegations which will be refuted.”
Fox News’ Adam Shaw, Jake Gibson, Catherine Herridge and Bill Mears contributed to this report.