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U.S President Donald Trump is declaring “total victory” after the release of a censored version of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on alleged collusion between his 2016 campaign and Russia. But outside Trump’s inner circle, many are reacting very differently.
At a news conference shortly before the report’s public release, Attorney General William Barr defended Trump, saying Mueller had cleared the president of any wrongdoing. But once the document was made public, many of Barr’s assertions appeared, at best, questionable.
For example, Barr told reporters that the president “co-operated fully” with Mueller’s investigation, but the report criticised Trump for refusing to agree to an in-person interview with the Special Counsel and for refusing “to provide written answers to questions on obstruction topics or questions on events during the transition”.
Barr also said that Trump had done nothing to obstruct the investigation. But according to the report, Trump ordered a top White House official to fire Mueller and then, when that official refused, ordered him to lie about it.
Perhaps most importantly, Barr repeatedly said that the report showed there had been no collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. But it actually says the Russian government tried to help Trump’s campaign and that the campaign “expected it would benefit electorally from information stolen and released through Russian efforts”.
Congressional Democrats plan to subpoena the full, unedited report along with all of its supporting documentation.
So will the Mueller report change the discussion in Washington? Or has it already become just another partisan talking point?
Richelle Carey reports.
Joe Watkins, Republican Political Strategist and Former White House Aide to George H. W. Bush
Clyde Wilcox, Professor of Government, Georgetown University
Claire Finkelstein, Professor, University of Pennsylvania Law School
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