In Highly Anticipated Report, Mueller Reveals Trump’s Efforts to Thwart Russian Inquiry – The New York Times
WASHINGTON â Robert S. Mueller III revealed a frantic, monthslong effort by President Trump to thwart the investigation into Russiaâs 2016 election interference, cataloging in a report released on Thursday the attempts by Mr. Trump to escape an inquiry that imperiled his presidency from the start.
The much-anticipated report laid out how a team of prosecutors working for Mr. Mueller, the special counsel, wrestled with whether the presidentâs actions added up to an indictable offense of obstruction of justice for a sitting president. They ultimately decided not to charge Mr. Trump, citing numerous legal and factual constraints, but pointedly declined to exonerate him.
âIf we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the president clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state,â Mr. Muellerâs investigators wrote. âBased on the facts and the applicable legal standards, however, we are unable to reach that judgment.â
Mr. Mueller inherited a sweeping inquiry 23 months ago into whether Mr. Trump or any of his aides had coordinated with the Russian governmentâs campaign to sabotage the presidential election. The report found numerous contacts between Trump campaign advisers and Russians in the months before and after the election â meetings in pursuit of business deals, policy initiatives and political dirt about Hillary Clinton â but said there was âinsufficient evidenceâ to establish that there had been a criminal conspiracy.