MONDAY, MARCH 25, 2019
Attorney General William Barr’s summary – It’s Over, Move On
WASHINGTON – Congress received the four-page letter from Attorney General William Barr on Sunday of what special counsel Robert Mueller found after more than two years and $35 million, investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election and any possible collusion with President Donald Trump’s campaign. While it should put collusion by Trump with Russia to rest, Democrats and many in the media say they need more to see.
The summary was compiled by Attorney General Barr and put into a four-pagesent to Congress. It was created after Barr spent two days reading through Mueller’s lengthy investigation, which was completed on Friday.
It attempts to answer key questions that have hung over Trump’s presidency, specifically whether the president committed the crime of obstruction of justice and colluded with Russia.
In Barr’s letter, he said that no proof was found that the Trump campaign conspired with Russia but said Mueller made no decision over whether the president obstructed justice. Barr said that Mueller’s office left that charging decision to him and the Justice Department.
“The Special Counsel states that ‘while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him,'” the letter states, quoting from the special counsel investigation.
Barr added that after review, he and Deputy Attorney General Rob Rosenstein “have concluded that the evidence developed during the Special Counsel’s investigation is not sufficient to establish that the President committed an obstruction-of-justice offense.”
Mueller’s report, which remains in the hands of Barr, marked the end of an investigation launched in secret months before Trump was elected, when the FBI began gathering clues that made them suspicious of aides to Trump’s campaign.
The investigation did however, as we know, lead to the indictment of 34 people (26 in Russian nationals charged with hacking and whom will never be prosecuted) and three companies on scores of charges.
Several Trump aides were convicted of lying to Congress or investigators, or for campaign-finance violations or for tax and bank fraud.
Read Barr’s letter to Congress in full below, outlining the conclusions of Mueller’s investigation:
Dear Chairman Graham, Chairman Nadler, Ranking Member Feinstein, and Ranking Member Collins:
As a supplement to the notification provided on Friday, March 22, 2019, I am writing today to advise you of the principal conclusions reached by Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller Ill and to inform you about the status of my initial review of the report he has prepared.
The Special Counsel’s Report
On Friday, the Special Counsel submitted to me a “confidential report explaining the prosecution or declination decisions” he has reached, as required by 28 C.F.R. 600.8(c). This report is entitled “Report on the Investigation into Russian Interference in the 2016 Presidential Election.” Although my review is ongoing, I believe that it is in the public interest to describe the report and to summarize the principal conclusions reached by the Special Counsel and the results of his investigation.
The report explains that the Special Counsel and his staff thoroughly investigated allegations that members of the presidential campaign of Donald J. Trump, and others associated with it, conspired with the Russian government in its efforts to interfere in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, or sought to obstruct the related federal investigations. In the report, the Special Counsel noted that, in completing his investigation, he employed 19 lawyers who were assisted by a team of approximately 40 FBI agents, intelligence analysts, forensic accountants, and other professional staff. The Special Counsel issued more than 2,800 subpoenas, executed nearly 500 search warrants, obtained more than 230 orders for communication records, issued almost 50 orders authorizing use of pen registers, made 13 requests to foreign governments for evidence, and interviewed approximately 500 witnesses.
The Special Counsel obtained a number of indictments and convictions of individuals and entities in connection with his investigation, all of which have been publicly disclosed. During the course of his investigation, the Special Counsel also referred several matters to other offices for further action. The report does not recommend any further indictments, nor did the Special Counsel obtain any sealed indictments that have yet to be made public. Below, I summarize the principal conclusions set out in the Special Counsel’s report.
Russian Interference in the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election. The Special Counsel’s report is divided into two parts. The first describes the results of the Special Counsel’s investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. The report outlines the Russian effort to influence the election and documents crimes committed by persons associated with the Russian government in connection with those efforts.
The report further explains that a primary consideration for the Special Counsel’s investigation was whether any Americans including individuals associated with the Trump campaign — joined the Russian conspiracies to influence the election, which would be a federal crime. The Special Counsel’s investigation did not find that the Trump campaign or anyone associated with it conspired or coordinated with Russia in its efforts to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election. As the report states: “[T]he investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities. “l
The Special Counsel’s investigation determined that there were two main Russian efforts to influence the 2016 election. The first involved attempts by a Russian organization, the Internet Research Agency (IRA), to conduct disinformation and social media operations in the United States designed to sow social discord, eventually with the aim of interfering with the election. As noted above, the Special Counsel did not find that any U.S. person or Trump campaign official or associate conspired or knowingly coordinated with the IRA in its efforts, although the Special Counsel brought criminal charges against a number of Russian nationals and entities in connection with these activities.
The second element involved the Russian government’s efforts to conduct computer hacking operations designed to gather and disseminate information to influence the election. The Special Counsel found that Russian government actors successfully hacked into computers and obtained emails from persons affiliated with the Clinton campaign and Democratic Party organizations, and publicly disseminated those materials through various intermediaries, including WikiLeaks.
Based on these activities, the Special Counsel brought criminal charges against a number of Russian military officers for conspiring to hack into computers in the United States for purposes of influencing the election. But as noted above, the Special Counsel did not find that the Trump campaign, or anyone associated with it, conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in these efforts, despite multiple offers from Russian-affiliated individuals to assist the Trump campaign.
1 In assessing potential conspiracy charges, the Special Counsel also considered whether members of the Trump campaign “coordinated” with Russian election interference activities. The Special Counsel defined “coordination” as an “agreement—tacit or express—between the Trump Camparusign and the Russian government on election interference.”
Obstruction of Justice. The report’s second part addresses a number of actions by the President — most of which have been the subject of public reporting — that the Special Counsel investigated as potentially raising obstruction-of-justice concerns. After making a “thorough factual investigation” into these matters, the Special Counsel considered whether to evaluate the conduct under Department standards governing prosecution and declination decisions but ultimately determined not to make a traditional prosecutorial judgment. The Special Counsel therefore did not draw a conclusion — one way or the other — as to whether the examined conduct constituted obstruction. Instead, for each of the relevant actions investigated, the report sets out evidence on both sides of the question and leaves unresolved what the Special Counsel views as “difficult issues” of law and fact concerning whether the President’s actions and intent could be viewed as obstruction. The Special Counsel states that “while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.”
The Special Counsel’s decision to describe the facts of his obstruction investigation without reaching any legal conclusions leaves it to the Attorney General to determine whether the conduct described in the report constitutes a crime. Over the course of the investigation, the Special Counsel’s office engaged in discussions with certain Department officials regarding many of the legal and factual matters at issue in the Special Counsel’s obstruction investigation. After reviewing the Special Counsel’s final report on these issues; consulting with Department officials, including the Office of Legal Counsel; and applying the principles of federal prosecution that guide our charging decisions, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and I have concluded that the evidence developed during the Special Counsel’s investigation is not sufficient to establish that the President committed an obstruction-of-justice offense. Our determination was made without regard to, and is not based on, the constitutional considerations that surround the indictment and criminal prosecution of a sitting president.
In making this determination, we noted that the Special Counsel recognized that “the evidence does not establish that the President was involved in an underlying crime related to Russian election interference,” and that, while not determinative, 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 cataloguing the President’s actions, many of which took place in public view, the report identifies no actions that, in our judgment, 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 decisions, would need to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt to establish an obstruction-ofjustice offense.
Status of the Department’s Review
The relevant regulations contemplate that the Special Counsel’s report will be a “confidential report” to the Attorney General. See Office of Special Counsel, 64 Fed. Reg. 37,038, 37,040-41 (July 9, 1999). As I have previously stated, however, I am mindful of the public interest in this matter. For that reason, my goal and intent is to release as much of the Special Counsel’s report as I can consistent with applicable law, regulations, and Departmental policies.
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 relating to “matter[s] occurring before [a] grand jury.” Fed. R. Crim. P. 6(e)(2)(B). Rule 6(e) generally limits disclosure of certain grand jury information in a criminal investigation and prosecution. Id. Disclosure of 6(e) material beyond the strict limits set forth in the rule is a crime in certain circumstances. See, e.g., 18 U.S.C.
401 (3). 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.
Given these restrictions, the schedule for processing the report depends in part on how quickly the Department can identify the 6(e) material that by law cannot be made public. I have requested the assistance of the Special Counsel in identifying all 6(e) information contained in the report as quickly as possible. Separately, I also must identify any information that could impact other ongoing matters, including those that the Special Counsel has referred to other offices. As soon as that process is complete, I will be in a position to move forward expeditiously in determining what can be released in light of applicable law, regulations, and Departmental policies.
As I observed in my initial notification, the Special Counsel regulations provide that “the Attorney General may determine that public release of’ notifications to your respective Committees “would be in the public interest.” 28 C.F.R. 600.9(c). I have so determined, and I will disclose this letter to the public after delivering it to you.
 See A Sitting President ‘s Amenability to Indictment and Criminal Prosecution, 24 Op. O.L.C. 222 (2000). -U.S. Attorney General William Barr
Viking Cruise ship rescue– 20 injured
A CRUISE ship with 1,373 passengers on board suffered engine failure off the west coast of Norway on Saturday, sparking an arduous evacuation in treacherous conditions.
Port authorities and coastal police said the first 479 passengers were successfully evacuated, where 20 have been sent to the hospital, three of them with serious injuries.
The founder and chairman of Viking Cruises, Norwegian billionaire Torstein Hagen said: “The 479 passengers who were evacuated by helicopters have been taken care of.
“Work is being done to organise transport to get the passengers home.
“The first passengers are already travelling today. We have been informed that 20 people have been injured.
The evacuation process started at approximately 3pm on Saturday.
Henning Flusund, a skipper of the trawler “Remøy” who is in the area, said he believes it may take about four hours for Viking Sky to reach the Norwegian city of Molde. The vessel’s motors are now working again and will drive to Molde without help. The luxury cruise liner was estimated to reach land at 4.30pm.
The ship was carrying 915 passengers, of whom “a large number” were from the United States and Britain, according to the rescue services. According to a local rescue coordination some 17 injured passengers had been taken to hospital, while others suffered minor cuts and bruises.
Special Counsel Robert Mueller Turns In His $35 million Russia-Trump probe; No New Indictments To come
No Collusion. Special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation has concluded and he has now submitted his long-awaited report to Attorney General William Barr.
Word is that Mueller is not recommending any further indictments. The Trump witch hunt is over. Or will the Democrats try to keep it going leaving the American people disgusted.
The U.S. Justice Department also confirmed that the “principal conclusions” of the report will eventually be made public. Democrats are already crying that all of it should be released. President Trump from the White House has been quiet so far but has always said the same thing. Let America decide what was really going on and how much distrust of the FBI and DOJ should still be in their minds.
New Attorney General William Bar, who was at the Justice Department reviewing the report, will now summarize it for lawmakers. How much will be made public is left to Barr’s discretion.
In a letter to top lawmakers on the judiciary committees, Barr said he anticipated that he might be able to advise them of Mueller’s principal conclusions “as soon as this weekend.” A senior Justice Department official said that Barr will not be sending his conclusions to Congress overnight.
Special counsel spokesperson Peter Carr said in a statement that Mueller will be concluding his service in the coming days.