Trump claims 'total exoneration' from Mueller summary despite lack of answers on obstruction




  • In Business
  • 2019-03-24 21:29:17Z
  • By USA TODAY
 

WASHINGTON - President Donald Trump claimed vindication from a summary made public Sunday of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

"It was a complete and total exoneration," the president said as he boarded Air Force One in Palm Beach, Florida en route to Washington.

"It is a shame our country had to go through this," Trump said. "It is a shame your president had to go through this - before I even got elected, it began, and it began illegally."

Trump referred to the investigation as an "illegal takedown that failed."

He also posted on Twitter that there was "No Collusion, No Obstruction, Complete and Total EXONERATION."

Mueller's investigation did not find evidence that Trump or members of his campaign conspired with Russia's efforts to sway the 2016 election, but it left unresolved whether Trump's actions and intent could be viewed as obstruction of justice, Attorney General William Barr said in a letter to Congress.

"While this report does not conclude that the president committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him" on whether he obstructed justice, Mueller said in the report, according to Barr's four-page summary.

While Mueller's report appeared to lift a cloud that has hung over the White House for years regarding the issue of collusion, it opened the door to a politically fraught examination by Congress over whether he attempted to obstruct justice.

Trump's campaign issued a statement accusing Democrats of being "distraught and blindsided" by the 2016 election.

Rudy Giuliani, one of Trump's attorneys, described Mueller's findings as "better than I expected."

More: Special counsel Robert Mueller delivers report marking end of investigation into Trump's campaign, Russia

Mueller completed his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election on Friday, delivering a report to Barr that signals the end of the long-running inquiry that has loomed over Trump's presidency for years.

The president, who spent the weekend at his Florida resort, Mar-a-Lago, remained unusually muted as he awaited the findings of the report. He relaxed Saturday by golfing with Kid Rock. On Sunday, he golfed again - this time with South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, former South Carolina Rep. Trey Gowdy and White House acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney.

Trump also stayed off his favorite communication medium, Twitter, for most of the weekend. In an unusually lengthy silence, he did not post any tweets for nearly 40 hours.

He broke his silence Sunday, shortly after 8 a.m., with a series of benign tweets.

"Good morning," he wrote. "Have A Great Day!"

More: It's not just Congress. People on social media demand public release of Mueller report

More: Poll: Half of Americans say Trump is victim of a 'witch hunt' as trust in Mueller erodes

More: 'Do not think you can bury the evidence': Democrats demand Mueller report be made public

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Trump claims 'total exoneration' from Mueller summary despite lack of answers on obstruction

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