According to a summary of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report submitted to Congress on March 24, President Donald Trump’s campaign did not conspire with Russia during the 2016 election.
The summary did not draw a conclusion as to whether Donald Trump illegally obstructed justice, but did not exonerate the president.
The report was summarized for Congress by the attorney general, William Barr.
Donald Trump tweeted in response: “No Collusion, No Obstruction.”
The president, who has repeatedly described the inquiry as a witch hunt, said on March 24 that “it was a shame that the country had to go through this”, describing the inquiry as an “illegal takedown that failed”.
The report is the culmination of two years of investigation by Robert Mueller.
He wrote in his report: “While this report does not conclude that the president committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.”
The summary letter by William Barr outlines the inquiry’s findings relating to Russian efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election.
He concluded: “The special counsel did not find that any US person or Trump campaign official conspired or knowingly co-ordinated with Russia.”
The second part of the letter addresses the issue of obstruction of justice. William Barr’s summary says the special counsel report “ultimately determined not to make a traditional prosecutorial judgment”.
The letter read: “The Special Counsel therefore did not draw a conclusion – one way or the other – as to whether the examined conduct constituted obstruction.”
William Barr says that the evidence was not sufficient “to establish that the president committed an obstruction-of-justice offence”.
The attorney general ends his letter to Congress by saying he will release more from the full report, but that some of the material is subject to restrictions.
William Barr wrote: “Given these restrictions, the schedule for processing the report depends in part on how quickly the Department can identify the [grand jury] material that by law cannot be made public.
“I have requested the assistance of the Special Counsel in identifying all information contained in the report as quickly as possible.”
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders described the findings of the report as “a total and complete exoneration of the president”.
President Trump’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, said the report was “better than I expected”.
Congressman Jerry Nadler, the Democratic Chair of the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee, emphasized that the attorney general did not rule out that President Trump may have obstructed justice.
Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal, a member of the Senate’s Judiciary Committee, said that while there was a lack of evidence to support “a prosecutable criminal conspiracy”, questions remained over whether President Trump had been compromised.
Republican Senator Mitt Romney welcomed the “good news”, tweeting that it was now “time for the country to move forward”.
Nastya Rybka, who said she had evidence of Russian collusion with Donald Trump’s election campaign, has been detained by Russian police.
The 27-year-old Belarusian model, real name Anastasia Vashukevich, was arrested at Moscow’s main airport after being deported from Thailand for soliciting.
Her lawyer posted a video on Instagram which, he says, shows her arrest.
The video shows a woman resembling Nastya Rybka and looking sedated struggles as four men push her into a wheelchair, then carry her.
The video clip posted by lawyer Dmitry Zatsarinsky has now been tweeted by Russian broadcasters and anti-corruption blogger Alexei Navalny.
Dmitry Zatsarinsky said the model had planned to get a connecting flight to Minsk, the Belarusian capital, but had been seized and dragged from the transit zone on to Russian territory, then whisked away to a police station.
The lawyer called the Russian action “an international scandal”.
A Russian interior ministry statement, quoted by local media, says Nastya Rybka and three others detained with her at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport are accused of “luring into prostitution and practicing it”. The crime can be punished with up to six years’ jail.
Among the four held is Belarusian Alexander Kirillov, who was in custody with Nastya Rybka in Thailand.
They spent nine months in custody before a Thai court handed them a suspended 18-month sentence for soliciting. Thailand deported them on January 17, taking account of their time spent in custody.
They and five others – both Belarusians and Russians – pleaded guilty, after which they were deported.
While in custody, Nastya Rybka and Alexander Kirillov sought help from the US embassy, fearing extradition to Russia.
Nastya Rybka said she had evidence of Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election campaign, allegedly obtained through an acquaintance with Russian billionaire industrialist Oleg Deripaska.
Oleg Deripaska denied the allegations and successfully sued both Nastya Rybka and Alexander Kirillov.
The billionaire is on the list of Russian oligarchs and politicians subject to US sanctions for alleged “malign activities” around the world.
Michael Cohen has admitted he lied about a Trump property deal in Russia during the 2016 election.
President Donald Trump’s former lawyer pleaded guilty to lying to Congress. Michael Cohen said he did so out of loyalty to Donald Trump.
The president said his former right-hand man was “lying” to prosecutors in the hope of receiving a reduced sentence.
Special Counsel Robert Mueller is investigating Russia’s role in the 2016 election and whether Donald Trump colluded with it.
In August, Michael Cohen, 52, pleaded guilty to violating finance laws during the 2016 election by handling hush money for Donald Trump’s alleged lovers.
Appearing unexpectedly before a federal judge in Manhattan on November 30, Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to one count of making false statements to Congress.
The president’s former lawyer said at the hearing that he had submitted a false written statement about a Trump Organization plan to build a skyscraper in the Russian capital.
He said in court: “I made these misstatements to be consistent with individual 1’s political messaging and out of loyalty to individual 1.”
Michael Cohen has previously identified “individual 1” as Donald Trump.
He was interviewed in October 2017 behind closed doors by lawmakers conducting their own investigation into whether Donald Trump’s campaign worked with Russia to sway the US election two years ago.
According to the criminal complaint, Michael Cohen told the Senate and House intelligence committees that talks over the Moscow project had lasted from September 2015 until January 2016, while Donald Trump was running for the White House.
However, the document says that “as Cohen well knew”, negotiations over the Moscow project continued until June 2016.
Michael Cohen also told lawmakers he had had limited contact with Donald Trump about the project, when in fact it had been “more extensive”.
Prosecutors said Michael Cohen had tried to give a false impression that the Moscow project ended before the Republican presidential campaign properly began in 2016.
George Papadopoulos told Donald Trump, then a Republican presidential candidate, and other members of the campaign’s national security team that he could set up a meeting with President Vladimir Putin ahead of the 2016 election.
A pre-sentencing statement last week read: “While some in the room rebuffed George’s offer, Mr. Trump nodded with approval and deferred to Mr. Sessions, who appeared to like the idea and stated that the campaign should look into it.”
George Papadopoulos told CNN in an interview aired on September 7 that Donald Trump “gave me a sort of a nod” and “wasn’t committed either way” about the idea of a meeting with the Russian leader.
However, he said then-senator and now-Attorney General Jeff Sessions “was actually enthusiastic”. Last November, Jeff Sessions testified to Congress that he had “pushed back” against George Papadopoulos’ offer.
American authorities were alerted in mid-2016 after George Papadopoulos told an Australian diplomat during a drinking session in a London pub about his meetings with Professor Mifsud.
The envoy told US investigators, shortly after the emails hacked from the Democratic Party were leaked.
When the FBI interviewed George Papadopoulos in January 2017, he falsely claimed he had met two individuals with Russian ties before he joined the president’s team in March 2016.
He had actually met them after joining Donald Trump’s campaign.
One individual was a Russian woman who George Papadopoulos believed had connections to the Russian government.
In July 2018, the DoJ charged 12 Russian intelligence officers with hacking Democratic officials.
Prosecutors said George Papadopoulos’s lack of cooperation with investigators meant they were unable to effectively question or detain Joseph Mifsud. The professor has since left the United States.
No connection between Joseph Misfud and the hacked emails has been proven.
The DNC, which is suing Russia, the Trump campaign and WikiLeaks over the alleged election interference in the 2016, filed a court document on September 7, saying Joseph Mifsud “was missing and may be deceased”, without any further explanation, according to Bloomberg News.
It referred to him as a key figure to have evaded the Mueller inquiry.
George Papadopoulos said: “I made a dreadful mistake, but I am a good man who is eager for redemption.”
He said he lied not to impede investigation but “to preserve a perhaps misguided loyalty to his master”.
Judge Randolph Moss said he took the “genuine remorse” into consideration for the sentencing.
The only other person to be sentenced in the investigation – lawyer Alex Van Der Zwaan – received 30 days in prison. His judge referred to his regret as “muted”.
Outside court on September, George Papadopoulos’ lawyer, Thomas Breen, said his client was a “fool” and had acted “stupidly” in lying to the FBI.
However, the attorney said “the president of the United States hindered this investigation more than Papadopoulos ever could”.
The lawyer said President Trump had hampered the inquiry by calling it a “witch hunt” and “fake news”.
FBI director James Comey and NSA chief Admiral Mike Rogers are set to testify before Congress about possible links between Russia and President Donald Trump’s election campaign.
The two intelligence chiefs will also address Donald Trump’s unsubstantiated claim that he was wiretapped by President Barack Obama.
James Comey and Mike Rogers will give evidence at a rare open hearing of the congressional intelligence committee.
President Trump has called the investigation a “total witch hunt”.
Russia denies attempting to influence the US presidential election.
Two months ago, US intelligence agencies said Kremlin-backed hackers had broken into the email accounts of senior Democrats and released embarrassing ones in order to help Donald Trump defeat rival Hillary Clinton.
However, Adam Schiff said the material he had seen offers circumstantial evidence that US citizens collaborated with Russians to influence the vote.
He said: “There was circumstantial evidence of collusion; there is direct evidence, I think, of deception.
“There’s certainly enough for us to conduct an investigation.”
Two senior officials in the Trump administration have been caught up in the allegations – former national security adviser Michael Flynn, and Attorney-General Jeff Sessions.
Michael Flynn was fired last month after he misled the White House about his conversations with the Russian ambassador before he was appointed national security adviser.
He allegedly discussed US sanctions with Ambassador Sergei Kislyak. It is illegal for private citizens to conduct US diplomacy.
Meanwhile, Jeff Sessions was accused by Democrats of lying under oath during his confirmation hearing in January.
Jeff Sessions said he had “no communications with the Russians”, but it later emerged that he had met Sergei Kislyak during the campaign.
He denied any wrongdoing, but removed himself from an FBI inquiry into Russia’s alleged interference in the election.
March 20 hearing is also expected to address Donald Trump’s claims that the Obama administration wiretapped his phone at Trump Tower in New York during the campaign.
President Trump has provided no evidence, and senior Republican and Democratic officials have dismissed the idea. Barack Obama’s spokesman dismissed the claims.
Devin Nunes told Fox News on March 19 that a review of justice department documents provided on March 17 indicated there was no such wiretap.
Several Republicans have said President Trump should apologize if he cannot substantiate his claims.
Observers say both allegations have diverted attention from the Trump administration’s other policies and progress with political appointments.
Critics say Donald Trump’s claim that Barack Obama wiretapped him has damaged the US credibility, and relations with its allies.
Last week, President Trump’s spokesman Sean Spicer repeated claims by a Fox News analyst that the UK’s GCHQ spy agency had helped Barack Obama wiretap Donald Trump.
The claims angered the UK government, and GCHQ rejected the allegations as “utterly ridiculous”.
Meanwhile, President Trump and some Republicans have called for an investigation into intelligence leaks, including the leak that revealed details of Michael Flynn’s phone calls to the Russian ambassador.