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The special counsel Robert Mueller wrote a letter to Attorney General William Barr last month objecting to his conclusion that President Donald Trump did not obstruct justice in the Russia investigation, The New York Times reported.
In their final report in the investigation, Mueller’s team wrote that they declined to make a “traditional prosecutorial judgment” on whether the president sought to thwart the Russia inquiry.
But they emphasized that this finding “does not exonerate” Trump.
Mueller’s team added that they would not draw a conclusion on the question of obstruction because they were constrained by current DOJ policy that states a sitting president cannot be indicted.
But prosecutors laid out an extensive roadmap of all the evidence they had collected in the investigation, which included 11 possible instances of obstruction of justice by the president.
“The evidence we obtained about the President’s actions and intent presents difficult issues that prevent us from conclusively determining that no criminal conduct occurred,” prosecutors wrote. “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. Based on the facts and the applicable legal standards, however, we are unable to reach that judgment.”
Mueller’s team also indicated that it believed Congress would be well suited to investigate the question of obstruction using the evidence laid out in the final report.
Before the report was released to Congress and the public, however, Barr sent a four-page letter summarizing his “principal conclusions” of Mueller’s investigation to lawmakers.
In it, the attorney general said prosecutors “did not establish” that a conspiracy took place between the Trump campaign and the Russian government.
Barr also said that while Mueller’s team did not come to a conclusion on whether Trump obstructed justice, he had consulted with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and determined there was not enough evidence to criminally charge the president with an obstruction offense.