'Robert Mueller's redacted special counsel report into Donald Trump and Russian election interference was finally published Thursday saying Congress could find Trump guilty of obstructing justice – an hour after attorney general Bill Barr said he had cleared the president personally of the crime.
The 448-page document was littered with redactions but crucially says that the special counsel did not clear Trump, saying: 'If we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the President clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would state so.
'Based on the facts and applicable legal standards, however, we are unable to reach that judgment. Accordingly, while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.'
Mueller says: 'The conclusion that Congress may apply the obstruction laws to the President's corrupt exercise of the powers of office accords with our constitutional system of checks and balances and the principle that no person is above the law.'
That judgment will be seized on by Democrats already furious that Barr used a press conference to announce the findings of the report before it had been seen by Congress or the public – but after it had been given to Trump's personal attorneys to review.
A triumphant Trump tweeted a Game of Thrones meme saying 'Game Over' and speaking at the White House said: 'I'm having a good day.'
That day started just after 9.30am when Barr said that the weight of evidence in the Mueller report shows President Donald Trump did not obstruct justice – as he explained Trump's conduct as the actions of an 'understandably frustrated' president who was acting out of a belief that the probe was undermining his tenure.
But the report contains huge amounts of evidence which will be used to question Barr's judgment.
It is divided into two volumes: 207 pages on collusion, the other 241 on obstruction.
It paints a picture of an angry Trump who went outside official channels, voicing rage at the Russia investigation from the beginning of his presidency.
When Mueller was appointed, he ranted: 'I'm f***ed. This is the end of my presidency.'
The account – released to Congress on CD-Roms and to the public in a PDF document which could not be searched – will be mined for evidence by Trump's enemies but it is its legal judgments which will be used by Democrats in Congress to challenge Barr.'
Read more: Mueller says Congress COULD find Trump guilty of obstructing justice and reveals how raging president said 'I'm fucked' when special counsel was appointed in report published AFTER Bill Barr cleared POTUS of any crime
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13 February 2017
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