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Only Congress can hold Trump accountable

21 April 2019

Donald Trump's lawyers and advisers repeatedly rebuffed attempts by the president to halt Robert Mueller's investigation, according to the special counsel's report published on Thursday.

The tome runs to more than 400 pages.

The report - which landed as the United States dives into the ferment of a bitter presidential campaign - supports Trump's repeated assertions that he never colluded with Russian intelligence efforts to tilt the 2016 election in his favor.

"As we continue to review the report", they continued, "one thing is clear: Attorney General Barr presented a conclusion that the president did not obstruct justice while Mueller's report appears to undercut that finding".

This included the release by WikiLeaks of emails stolen by Russian agents from the team of Trump's Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton.

As this was happening, several people on Mr. Trump's campaign met with Russians and other Moscow intermediaries. Tlaib also called Trump "the most unsafe threat to our democracy".

Comey, Trump, and "Loyalty"I Hope You Can Let This Go " The Comey Firing - and Trump's Shifting ReasoningTrump's Reaction to Mueller's AppointmentA Meeting in Trump Tower".

Mr. Trump's lawyer Michael Cohen, for his part, spoke with Kremlin officials to solicit their help in getting a Trump hotel built in Moscow. But it seems possible Russia was taking public direction from Trump, and Trump's campaign chairman was having extended interactions about the campaign and Trump's potential presidency with someone with alleged ties to Russian intelligence. "Oh my God. This is awful".

Nevertheless, Mueller concludes, "The president's directives indicate that Sessions was being instructed to tell the special counsel to end the existing investigation into the president and his campaign". Though the report said "the campaign anticipated receiving derogatory documents and information" from Russians that "could assist Trump's electoral prospects", it said "the government would unlikely be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt" that the participants at that meeting "had general knowledge that their conduct was unlawful".

Schumer and Pelosi released a statement Thursday saying "the differences are stark between what Attorney General Barr said on obstruction and what special counsel Mueller said on obstruction".

"The IRA also recruited moderators of conservative social media groups to promote IRA-generated content, as well as recruited individuals to perform political acts (such as walking around New York City dressed up as Santa Claus with a Trump mask)".

"The campaign expected it would benefit electorally from information stolen and released through Russian efforts", the report said.

Those actions have escalated partisan anxiety about Barr's trustworthiness and taken a toll on the standing of a Justice Department veteran who won over some skeptical Democrats with a smooth confirmation hearing at which he pledged independence and transparency.

Trump first learned that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed Mueller as special counsel from then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions during a meeting to interview candidates for Federal Bureau of Investigation director in May 2017, the report said. Trump appointed him. Trump can fire him. Sessions said Trump asked for his resignation but when he brought him a letter of resignation the next day, the president had changed his mind.

The special counsel wrestled with what to do with his findings, unable to charge or exonerate, and sided with the department's guideline that indicting a sitting president would impair the ability of the executive branch to function.

Staffers had been told by the White House to cooperate fully with Mueller's team and answer their questions truthfully.

"Although the President ultimately acknowledged that he was going to fire Corney regardless of the Department of Justice's recommendations, he did so only after DOJ officials made clear to him that they would resist the White House's suggestion that they had prompted the process that led to Comey's termination", the report says.

Only Congress can hold Trump accountable