2. SOUNDBITE (English): William Barr, US Attorney General:
"Finally the special counsel investigated a number of links or contacts between the Trump campaign officials and individuals connected with the Russian government during the 2016 presidential campaign. After reviewing these contacts, the special counsel did not find any conspiracy to violate U.S. law involving Russian-linked persons and any persons associated with the Trump campaign. So that's the bottom line. After nearly two years of investigation, thousands of subpoenas, hundreds of warrants and witness interviews, the special counsel confirmed that the Russian government sponsored efforts to illegally interfere with the 2016 presidential election but did not find that the Trump campaign or other Americans colluded in those efforts. After finding no underlying collusion with Russia, the special counsel's report goes on to consider whether certain actions of the president could amount to obstruction of the special counsel's investigation. As I addressed in my March 24th letter, the special counsel did not make a traditional prosecutorial judgment regarding this allegation. Instead, the report recounts 10 episodes involving the president and discusses potential legal theories for connecting those activities to the elements of an obstruction offense. After carefully reviewing the facts and legal theories outlined in the report, and in consultation with the Office of Legal Counsel and other department lawyers, the deputy attorney general and I concluded that the evidence developed by the special counsel is not sufficient to establish that the president committed an obstruction of justice offense. Although the deputy attorney general and I disagreed with some of the special counsel's legal theories and felt that some of the episodes examined did not amount to obstruction as a matter of law, we did not rely solely on that in making our decision. Instead, we accepted the special counsel's legal framework for purposes of our analysis and evaluated the evidence as presented by the special counsel in reaching our conclusions. In assessing the president's actions discussed in the report it is important to bear in mind the context. President Trump faced an unprecedented situation. As he entered into office and sought to perform his responsibilities as president, federal agents and prosecutors were scrutinizing his conduct before and after taking office and the conduct of some of his associates. At the same time, there was relentless speculation in the news media about the president's personal culpability. Yet as he said from the beginning there was in fact no collusion. And as the special counsel's report acknowledges, there is substantial evidence to show that the president was frustrated and angered by his sincere belief that the investigation was undermining his presidency, propelled by his political opponents and fueled by illegal leaks. Nonetheless the White House fully cooperated with the special counsel's investigation providing unfettered access to campaign and White House documents, directing senior aides to testify freely and asserting no privilege claims. And at the same time, the president took no act that in fact deprived the special counsel of the documents and witnesses necessary to complete his investigation. Apart from whether the acts were obstructive, this evidence of noncorrupt motives weighs heavily against any allegation that the president had a corrupt intent to obstruct the investigation."
Attorney General William Barr says special counsel Robert Mueller's report recounts 10 episodes involving President Donald Trump that were investigated as potential acts of criminal obstruction of justice.
Barr says Mueller did not reach a "prosecutorial judgment" and that he and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein concluded the evidence was not sufficient to establish the president committed an offense.
Barr spoke Thursday at a news conference with reporters.
While Mueller drew no conclusion about whether President Donald Trump had obstructed justice in the investigation, Barr said he and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein personally had concluded that while Trump was "frustrated and angry" about the Mueller probe, nothing the president did rose to the level of an "obstruction-of-justice offense."