Some investigators in the nearly two-year probe of U.S. President Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign say the findings in a report submitted by special counsel Robert Mueller are more damaging for the president than what has been suggested by Attorney General William Barr, The New York Times and The Washington Post reported late Wednesday.
Barr issued a four-page summary March 24 of the Mueller report and its investigation into allegations the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to influence the election in Trump’s favor. Barr said Mueller’s team found no evidence that Trump or anyone associated with his campaign conspired or coordinated with Russia.
The attorney general also said Mueller did not conclude that the president illegally interfered with the investigation, but added that he was also not exonerated. Barr said he and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein decided there was not enough evidence to charge Trump with obstruction of justice.
But the Times and the Post say Mueller’s investigators have told associates that Barr failed to adequately portray the findings of their inquiry. The Post says the members of Mueller’s team believe the evidence they gathered on obstruction was “alarming and significant.” The Times says in its report that the investigators are concerned that because Barr’s summary was “the first narrative” of the team’s findings, the public’s views will be fixed before the final report is released.
The attorney general has vowed to publicly issue the report by mid-April after he and his staff take out any sensitive information, such as grand jury testimonies. But the Democratic-controlled House Judiciary Committee voted Wednesday along party lines to authorize Chairman Jerry Nadler to issue subpoenas to obtain the full copy of Mueller’s final report and its supporting evidence.
While Trump has left it to Barr to decide whether to release the complete report, the president is expected to assert what is known as executive privilege over some portions of records other congressional committees are seeking as part of their investigation of the administration. That has set the stage for a showdown between Democrats in Congress and the White House, raising the specter that the issue may ultimately end up before the U.S. Supreme Court.
The committee also authorized Nadler to subpoena documents and testimony from five of Trump’s former aides, including former political adviser Steve Bannon and former White House counsel Donald McGahn.
Despite Barr’s determination that he was not fully exonerated by Mueller’s report, Trump has boasted that he has been fully cleared of any wrongdoing in the probe. (VOA)