The end of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election ended with many unanswered questions. Before Mueller finished, court filings show he concluded that Russia launched a large-scale influence operation that sought to help Trump’s campaign and hurt Hillary Clinton’s.
What remains to be seen, reports the Associated Press, is what Mueller uncovered that may have fallen short of a crime and whether Attorney General William Barr will publicly address the collusion question head on.
On the obstruction of justice issue, there will be no criminal charges, but Mueller scrutinized several episodes, several of which involve the president and former FBI Director James Comey. Prosecutors interviewed White House officials about Trump’s firing of Comey and his explanation in a television interview that he was thinking of “this Russia thing” at the time.
Comey says Trump encouraged him to drop an investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn and attacked his former attorney Michael Cohen, as a “rat,” raising questions about whether he was attempting to intimidate associates to prevent them from testifying against him.
Mueller could have laid out his findings on the question of obstruction in his report, given that it was one of the original parts of his appointment order. Whether the public will ever know them is up to Barr.
Meanwhile, the fallout from the report continued both on Capital Hill and overseas.
Vice President Pence used his remarks Monday morning at the annual conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee to claim a “total vindication” of the Trump campaign by Mueller.And Russia officials, insisted their country had not interfered in the campaign despite findings by Mueller to the contrary, reports the Washington Post.
While the reported conclusions in the letter summarizing the Mueller report from Barr represent an enormous win, legally and politically, for Trump, many political and legal battles of enormous consequence still lie ahead, reports CNN.
Federal and state prosecutors are pursuing about a dozen other investigations that largely grew out of Mueller’s work, all but ensuring that a legal threat will continue to loom over the Trump presidency, the New York Times reports.
Most of the investigations focus on President Trump or his family business or a cadre of his advisers and associates. They are being conducted by officials from Los Angeles to Brooklyn, with about half of them being run by the United States Attorney’s in Manhattan.