BREAKDOWN: After a two-year investigation, the Mueller Report — the culmination of special counsel Robert Mueller’s inquiry into Russian interference in the 2016 election and potential obstruction of justice — was released to the public on April 22. Heavily redacted due to information relating to separate ongoing cases, the report is separated into two volumes. The first focuses on the extent of Russian interference in the election and the ties to President Donald Trump’s campaign, and the second focuses on whether or not Trump is guilty of obstructing justice in regards to this investigation.
While the full report is 448 pages, here are the key takeaways, as well as insight into what this means for Trump moving forward.
May 17, 2017: Mueller is appointed by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein as special counsel, a lawyer responsible for investigating and potentially prosecuting the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
June 14, 2017: The investigation expands to investigate Trump for obstruction of justice relating to the Russian investigation.
July 2017: Former Trump campaign foreign policy advisor George Papadopoulos becomes the first person to be indicted for charges relating to the Russia investigation, specifically for making false statements to the FBI. Since then, 37 people have been indicted as a result of the investigation.
March 22, 2019: Mueller hands over the full report to Attorney General Bill Barr, signifying the end of the Russia investigation. Two days later, Barr released his four-page summary to Congress.
April 18, 2019: The full, redacted report is released to the public.
Russian interference: The Russian government absolutely interfered in the 2016 election in a “sweeping and systematic fashion,” according to the report. Attempts were made to undermine presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and support Trump — this largely involved social media, such as creating fake accounts in favor of Trump, and hacking and leaking damaging information.
No criminal collusion: While the Trump campaign expected to benefit from the Russian interference, Mueller did not find enough evidence to establish that the Trump campaign actually participated or conspired with the Russian government in their efforts to sway the election.
Not exonerated: The report is unable to make a judgement about whether Trump criminally obstructed justice. However, Mueller notes that if he had evidence to clearly suggest Trump did not obstruct justice, he would have come to that conclusion. For that reason, “while the report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.” The report continues to detail various attempts made by Trump to potentially impede the investigation, including directing staff members to fire Mueller multiple times. However, he acknowledges that these actions could have been taken with other motives.
Since the Justice Department has traditionally held that a sitting president cannot be indicted, Mueller decided it was not his place to judge whether or not Trump committed a crime through his obstruction of justice — and conducted his research with the knowledge that he would not be able to indict the president while in office.
Although the report did not find Trump guilty of criminal wrongdoing, Mueller has left open the possibility for Congress to continue to investigate Trump for obstruction of justice, using his team’s findings as a road map. This would theoretically allow Congress to determine whether or not Trump’s obstruction is worthy of impeachment proceedings.
Senior Alex Freeman has been stationed in the J-room for three years, and is excited to take on the role of Head Copy Editor for her final year. Outside of Harbinger, you can find her performing with the the Choraliers, Chamber Choir, or the Lyric Opera of Kansas City (or at least sitting at her keyboard practicing). This year she’s excited to help fellow staffers improve, write as many stories as possible, and essentially live in the J-room — and hopefully make ... »