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Barr Repeatedly Defends Trump Ahead of Mueller Report Release

April 18, 2019, 2:23 PM UTC

Ahead of the long-awaited release of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election, Attorney General William Barr repeatedly stated Thursday that neither President Donald Trump nor his campaign cooperated with Russian efforts, emphasizing that Trump faced “an unprecedented situation” of scrutiny while trying to fulfill his duties as president.

“That is the bottom line,” Barr said during a news conference. “After nearly two years of investigation, thousands of subpoenas, and 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 schemes.”

And while Trump would have been well within his rights to do so, Barr said, no additional information in the Mueller report was redacted at his request.

“No material has been redacted based on executive privilege,” Barr said.

Barr had written a four-page letter summarizing the confidential 400-page report in late March. While Mueller’s investigation found no collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, Barr shared at the time that Mueller did not reach a conclusion on whether Trump obstructed justice.

Barr said on Thursday that Mueller cites 10 episodes of possible obstruction in his report, but that he and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein disagreed with some of Mueller’s legal theories on obstruction.

“Apart from whether the acts were obstructive, this evidence of non-corrupt motives weighs heavily against any allegation that the President had a corrupt intent to obstruct the investigation,” Barr said.

As Barr concluded his statement, Trump tweeted, using a Game of Thrones-style font, “No Collusion. No Obstruction. For the Haters and the Radical Left Democrats—Game Over.”

Barr said the redacted Mueller report will be released to Congress at 11 a.m. E.T. and will be viewable by the public later today on the special counsel’s website.