What Are the Key Findings in Attorney General Barr's Summary of the Mueller Report?

Attorney General William Barr provided his summary of the recently closed special counsel investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election on Sunday, and said the report neither exonerates nor indicts President Donald Trump in regard to whether he obstructed justice.

Barr indicated in his summary to Congress that he did not see any reason to move forward with any further obstruction proceedings against the president.

The main findings highlighted in a letter from Barr to members of Congress:

• Barr wrote in his summary that 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 presidential election."

• Regarding allegations that the president conspired with the Russians to sway the outcome of the 2016 election, the special counsel, Barr wrote, recognized that "the evidence does not establish that the President was involved in an underlying crime related to Russian election interference."

• The special counsel made no determination as to whether or not Trump's actions did or did not constitute obstruction of justice. "[W]hile this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him," reads Barr's letter to Congress,  quoting Mueller directly.

• Mueller left it up to Barr's office to determine if the obstruction allegations his team investigated "constitutes a crime."

• In response, Barr wrote that, after consulting with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, the two concluded that the evidence in the Mueller report was "not sufficient to establish that the President committed an obstruction-of-justice offense."

Attorney General Barr delivered his four-page letter to members of Congress on Sunday afternoon, nearly 48 hours after receiving the completed report from Mueller. 

In the brief summary, which boiled down and provided some analysis of the two-year investigation by Mueller's team, Barr told legislators that the special counsel did not conclude that President Trump or his campaign had colluded or conspired with the Russian government to influcence the outcome of the 2016 presidential election.

Mueller's team did find evidence of Russian attempts to meddle through disinformation campaigns "designed to sow social discord, eventually with the aim of interfering with the election" but did not, according to Barr's letter, identify anyone associated with the president or his campaign that had "conspired or knowingly coordinated with" the Russians, although Mueller indicted 25 Russian operatives last year.

Likewise, with regard to the Russian hacking and theft of documents from the Democratic National Committee's computer network, Barr said Mueller could find no evidence linking the indicted hackers to anyone in or associated with the Trump campaign.

The obstruction of justice investigation proved slightly stickier for Mueller. Rather than make any determination regarding allegations that the White House may have interfered with the Justice Department's investigation, Mueller provided Barr with the "evidence on both sides of the question" and wrote that "while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him."

Ultimately, Mueller left it up to Barr to review the evidence to determine if any crimes had been committed. 

"After reviewing the Special Counsel's final report on these issues... 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."

According to Barr, Mueller's finding that the "evidence does not establish that the President was involved in an underlying crime related to Russian election interference" had an impact on his decision to not pursue any further obstruction proceedings.

"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," wrote Barr, noting that the report did not identify any "actions that, in our judgment constitute obstructive conduct."

Following the release of the Barr letter, Democratic legislators criticized the attorney general for what they viewed as giving short shrift to such an extensive investigation.

"Special Counsel Mueller worked for 22 months to determine the extent to which President Trump obstructed justice," tweeted Jerrold Nadler, chair of the House Judiciary Committee. "Attorney General Barr took 2 days to tell the American people that while the President is not exonerated, there will be no action by DOJ."

Nadler followed that statement with a promise to use his committee's authority to get more information from the attorney general.

"In light of the very concerning discrepancies and final decision making at the Justice Department following the Special Counsel report, where Mueller did not exonerate the President, we will be calling Attorney General Barr in to testify... in the near future," tweeted the congressman from New York. 

President Trump, who had been uncharacteristically quiet most of the weekend, finally tweeted a message shortly before 5 p.m. on Sunday.

"No Collusion, No Obstruction, Complete and Total EXONERATION. KEEP AMERICA GREAT!" wrote the president.



Earlier reporting.


3:40 p.m.

Representative Jerrold Nadler, chair of the House Judiciary Committee, posted quotes from the letter sent by Barr to members of Congress

"The Department of Justice 'determined not to make a traditional prosecutorial judgement,'" wrote Nadler, followed by the most salient highlight: "The Special Counsel states that ‘while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.’”



The House Judiciary Committee then published the full text of the letter:

AG March 24 2019 Letter to House and Senate Judiciary Committees House Judiciary Committee

page2 House Judiciary Committee Page3 House Judiciary Committee page4 House Judiciary Committee


attorney general barr letter full text Attorney General William Barr leaves after a meeting at the West Wing of the White House on March 21 in Washington, D.C. Barr on Friday released a letter stating special counsel Robert Mueller finished his investigation. Alex Wong/Getty Images

Editor's Pick