Special counsel says evidence obtained about the president threw up ‘difficult issues’

Robert Mueller’s much-awaited report details “multiple contacts” between the Trump campaign and Russian government officials, and sets out 10 “episodes” in which Donald Trump possibly obstructed justice.

Mueller says he did not make a “traditional prosecutorial judgement” on whether Trump did obstruct justice and adds that the evidence obtained about “the president’s actions and intent” threw up “difficult issues”.

However, the special counsel refused to exonerate Trump on the charge. “If we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the President clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state,” Mueller wrote in his conclusion.

He added: “Based on the facts and the applicable legal standards, we are unable to reach that judgement.”

Mueller’s 448-page report also reveals that Trump believed he was “fucked” and his presidency was over when Mueller was first appointed. The special counsel began his investigation into possible collusion in May 2017, soon after Trump unceremoniously fired FBI chief James Comey.

Mueller’s report would have signaled the end for anyone other than Trump

 Read more

The report is divided into two distinct parts – the first concerning Russia’s efforts to help Trump win the 2016 US presidential election, and the second on whether Trump obstructed justice once installed in the White House.

The report concludes there was not an “active” criminal-level conspiracy between the Trump election team and Moscow. But the document contradicts claims of total exoneration made by Trump and his hand-picked attorney general William Barr, and provides fascinating new details.