Minutes after Attorney General William P. Barr delivered an across-the-board vindication of his claims of “no collusion” with Russia and “no obstruction” of justice, President Donald Trump declared victory in one of his favorite ways: inserting himself amid “Game of Thrones” style imagery.
Trump’s personal Twitter account posted image with Trump standing amid fog and these words prominently displayed: “GAME OVER.”
The image also included a shot at congressional Democrats, even as they continue investigating his business and political acts, saying his two-word declaration of victory is for “the haters and the radical left Democrats.” It also repeated his mantra since taking office: “No collusion, No obstruction.”
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 18, 2019
Trump has gone to this well before, posting an image of himself amid fog with GOT font on November 2 that “Sanctions are coming.”
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 2, 2018
And then amid the government shutdown on January 5, Trump posted more GOT imagery of himself with the words “The Wall is Coming.” Trump’s insistence on funding more of a southern border wall and Congress’ unwillingness to do so precipitated the shutdown.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 6, 2019
Though Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s coming report is expected to describe misconduct by the president and his associates, Barr delivered a stunningly glowing verbal summary of the document and Mueller’s findings.
“The special counsel’s report did not find any evidence that members of the Trump campaign, and anyone associated with the campaign, conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in these hacking operations,” Barr said during a press conference at the Justice Department. “In other words, there was no evidence of the Trump campaign collusion with the Russian government’s hacking.”
[White House braces for Mueller report as obstruction questions linger]
“After nearly two years of investigation, thousands of subpoenas, 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 efforts,” Barr said, telling reporters Mueller and his team found “no underlying collusion with Russia.”
The attorney general, a believer that the Office of the Presidency has broad authorities, also described his decision-making on questions about whether Trump obstructed justice via moves like firing former FBI Director James Comey and later admitting in a television interview that the Russia probe was on his mind when he did.
[Trump refers to Fox News as ‘we,’ after years of echoing the network]
“After carefully reviewing the facts and legal theories outlined in the report, and in consultation with the [DOJ] Office of Legal Counsel, and other department lawyers, the deputy attorney general [Rod Rosenstein] and I concluded that the evidence developed by the special counsel is not sufficient to establish that the President committed and obstruction of justice offense,” Barr said.
“Though the Deputy Attorney General and I disagreed with some of the special counsel’s legal theories, [we] felt that some of the episodes examined did not amount to obstruction as a matter of law,” the AG said.
A senior White House official on Wednesday described a confident West Wing less than 24 hours ahead of the report’s release, saying officials were confident that Barr’s summary of the Mueller probe showing no criminal conspiracy with Russia or criminal-level obstruction were established.
The White House has long said no officials had seen the full report or the version due out later Thursday, but Barr revealed the White House Counsel’s office was allowed to review the redacted report.
That was “consistent with long-standing practice” that would allow a sitting president to claim executive privilege to withhold certain information; he contended the White House did not invoke that authority over a single word.
The president is slated to give public remarks at 10:30 a.m. Check back for updates.
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