UPDATE 2 – Trump exerts privilege over unredacted Mueller report

                                               ADDS CONTEMPT VOTE IN GRAFS 6-7; MOVES UP LAST GRAF AND REFRAMES</p>  <p>By Michael Hernandez</p>  <p>WASHINGTON (AA) - U.S. President Donald Trump exerted executive privilege Wednesday on the unredacted version of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report on Russian interference in the 2016 election.</p>  <p>The House Judiciary Committee subpoenaed the Justice Department for an unredacted copy of the report as well as all underlying evidence. Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler had set a Monday deadline for the department to comply, but it came and passed as the committee and the department continued talks to breach the impasse.</p>  <p>Those discussions broke down late Tuesday. </p>  <p>Nadler said the president decided to invoke privilege on the document as the committee prepared to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt of Congress for failing to adhere to the subpoena.</p>  <p>&quot;The department seemed open to sharing these documents with us just yesterday. This decision represents a clear escalation in the Trump administration's blanket defiance of Congress' constitutionally-mandated duties,&quot; Nadler said ahead of the contempt vote.</p>  <p>The committee voted 24-16 later Wednesday to hold Barr in contempt, sending the matter to the full House where the Democratic majority will likely follow suit and trigger a criminal referral to the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia.</p>  <p>Jessie Liu, the U.S. attorney, would then decide whether a prosecution would be pursued. </p>  <p>Barr released a redacted version of the Mueller report to Congress and the public last month, but Democrats have insisted on receiving an uncensored copy.</p>  <p>The White House sharply criticized Nadler, saying in a statement that &quot;neither the White House nor Attorney General Barr will comply with Chairman Nadler’s unlawful and reckless demands.</p>  <p>&quot;Faced with Chairman Nadler’s blatant abuse of power, and at the Attorney General’s request, the President has no other option than to make a protective assertion of executive privilege,&quot; spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said in a statement. 

UPDATE – Trump exerts privilege over unredacted Mueller report

                              ADDS WHITE HOUSE STATEMENT, DETAILS THROUGHOUT</p>  <p>By Michael Hernandez</p>  <p>WASHINGTON (AA) - U.S. President Donald Trump exerted executive privilege Wednesday on the unredacted version of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report on Russian interference in the 2016 election. </p>  <p>The House Judiciary Committee subpoenaed the Justice Department for an unredacted copy of the report as well as all underlying evidence. Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler had set a Monday deadline for the department to comply, but it came and passed as the committee and the department continued talks to breach the impasse.</p>  <p>Those discussions broke down late Tuesday. </p>  <p>Nadler said the president decided to invoke privilege on the document as the committee prepared to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt of Congress for failing to adhere to the subpoena.</p>  <p>&quot;The department seemed open to sharing these documents with us just yesterday. This decision represents a clear escalation in the Trump administration's blanket defiance of Congress' constitutionally-mandated duties,&quot; Nadler said ahead of the contempt vote.</p>  <p>Barr released a redacted version of the Mueller report to Congress and the public last month, but Democrats have insisted on receiving an uncensored copy.</p>  <p>The White House sharply criticized Nadler, saying in a statement that &quot;neither the White House nor Attorney General Barr will comply with Chairman Nadler’s unlawful and reckless demands.</p>  <p>&quot;Faced with Chairman Nadler’s blatant abuse of power, and at the Attorney General’s request, the President has no other option than to make a protective assertion of executive privilege,&quot; spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said in a statement. </p>  <p>The Judiciary Committee is likely to vote in favor of holding Barr in contempt of Congress when it votes later Wednesday, sending the matter to the full House where the Democratic majority will likely follow suit and send the matter to the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia. 

Trump exerts privilege over unredacted Mueller report

             By Michael Hernandez </p>  <p>WASHINGTON (AA) - U.S. President Donald Trump exerted executive privilege Wednesday on the unredacted version of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report on Russian interference in the 2016 election. </p>  <p>The House Judiciary Committee subpoenaed the Justice Department for an unredacted copy of the report as well as all underlying evidence. Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler had set a Monday deadline for the department to comply.</p>  <p>But Nadler said the president decided to invoke privilege over the document as the committee prepared to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt of Congress for failing to adhere to the subpoena.</p>  <p>&quot;The department seemed open to sharing these documents with us just yesterday. This decision represents a clear escalation in the Trump administration's blanket defiance of Congress' constitutionally-mandated duties,&quot; Nadler said.

Ex-White House counsel told to ignore subpoena

             By Michael Hernandez</p>  <p>WASHINGTON (AA) - Former White House counsel has been advised by U.S. President Donald Trump's chief of staff not to comply with a congressional subpoena seeking information about his time in office. </p>  <p>House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler subpoenaed Don McGahn on April 22 for records and testimony, calling him a &quot;critical witness&quot; to allegations of obstruction of justice involving the president.</p>  <p>In the lengthy report detailing the conclusions of his two-year probe, Special Counsel Robert Mueller pointed to 10 incidents involving Trump that raised questions of obstruction, including the president's attempt to remove the special counsel from his post and attempts to curtail his investigation. </p>  <p>They included Trump's June 2017 directive to McGahn to speak with then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions to say Mueller must be expelled because Trump believed he had alleged conflicts of interests. </p>  <p>But in a widely reported letter, McGahn's lawyer, William Burck, told Nadler his client has been advised by Acting Chief of Staff Mick Muvlaney not to comply with the subpoena. </p>  <p>Mulvaney issued the directive because the documents McGahn was ordered not to turn over the requested documents &quot;because they implicate significant Executive Branch confidentiality interests and executive privilege,&quot; current White House counsel Pat Cipollone said in a letter that Burck included in his missive to the judiciary committee chairman. </p>  <p>Cipollone argued McGahn does not have the legal right to turn them over to the committee. </p>  <p>&quot;Where co-equal branches of government are making contradictory demands on Mr. McGahn concerning the same set of documents, the appropriate response for Mr. McGahn is to maintain the status quo unless and until the Committee and the Executive Branch can reach an accommodation,&quot; Burck wrote to Nadler. 

US House Speaker accuses Barr of lying to Congress

             By Michael Hernandez</p>  <p>WASHINGTON (AA) - House Speaker Nancy Pelosi issued a stark warning to Attorney General William Barr on Thursday, alleging the top law enforcement official lied during congressional testimony. </p>  <p>&quot;The attorney general of the United States of America was not telling the truth to the Congress of the United States,&quot; she said. &quot;That's a crime.&quot;</p>  <p>Barr skipped testimony Thursday before the House Judiciary Committee after he was grilled Wednesday by its Senate counterpart for his handling of the release of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report on Russian interference in the 2016 election and allegations of Trump campaign collusion.</p>  <p>Pelosi was likely referring to Barr's testimony April 10.  </p>  <p>During that testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee Barr said he did not know if Mueller agreed with his conclusions on the report, particularly his decision to clear U.S. President Donald Trump of obstruction of justice. </p>  <p>But within hours of his scheduled appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee, the Washington Post reported that Mueller wrote to Barr complaining over the summary he issued to the public about the special counsel's findings.</p>  <p>Barr's summary, Mueller wrote, &quot;did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance of this Office's work and conclusions&quot;.</p>  <p>Pelosi said if anyone else had done what Barr did &quot;it would be considered a crime.&quot;</p>  <p>&quot;Nobody is above the law. Not the President of the United States, and not the attorney general,&quot; she said.</p>  <p>Asked pointedly if Barr should go to jail, Pelosi said &quot;there's a process here&quot; the Judiciary Committee will determine how to proceed on.</p>  <p>The Justice Department did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Pelosi's allegations.  

Top US lawyer grilled by Congress on Mueller report

            By Michael Hernandez</p>  <p>WASHINGTON (AA) – U.S. Attorney General William Barr was on the receiving end of blistering criticism from Senate Democrats on Wednesday over his handling of the release of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's long-awaited report on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. </p>  <p>Democrats lambasted the top lawyer over their concerns that he worked to spin the conclusions of Mueller's two-year probe in President Donald Trump's favor and in doing so violated the Justice Department's and his integrity through his decision to clear the president of obstruction of justice. </p>  <p>In defending his decision, Barr insisted that he believes the Justice Department does not have a prosecutable case against the president.</p>  <p>In a particularly tense moment, Senator Mazie Hirono said Barr is among the ranks of &quot;people who sacrificed their once decent reputation for the grifter and liar who sits in the Oval Office&quot;.</p>  <p>&quot;Your used every advantage of your office to create the impression that the president was cleared of misconduct. You selectively quoted fragments from the special counsel's report, taking some of the most important statements out of context and ignoring the rest. You put the power and authority of the office of the attorney general and the Department of Justice behind a public relations effort to help Donald Trump protect himself. Finally, you lied to Congress,&quot; she said. </p>  <p>&quot;Being attorney general of the United States is a sacred trust. You have betrayed that trust. America deserves better. You should resign,” Hirono added. </p>  <p>Barr, however, remained defiant in the face of criticism that was re-energized heading into the hearing when The Washington Post reported Tuesday evening that Mueller sent a letter to the attorney general complaining over the summary he issued to the public about the special counsel's findings. </p>  <p>The summary, Mueller wrote, &quot;did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance of this Office's work and conclusions”.</p>  <p>Barr said Mueller's letter was &quot;a bit snitty&quot; and claimed it &quot;was probably written by one of his staff people&quot;.</p>  <p>The attorney general recalled a telephone call between himself and Mueller where he asked the special counsel &quot;what's with the letter? Why didn't you just pick up the phone?&quot;</p>  <p>Asked specifically if anyone had taken notes on that conversation, Barr said some notes were taken, but then said he would not hand them over to Congress. </p>  <p>&quot;Why not?&quot; asked Senator Richard Blumenthal.</p>  <p>&quot;Why should you have them?&quot; Barr replied. 

Trump fumes at Mueller after claiming exoneration

            By Michael Hernandez</p>  <p>WASHINGTON (AA) - U.S. President Donald Trump raged Friday at Special Counsel Robert Mueller's final report on Russian interference, one day after he claimed total exoneration.</p>  <p>&quot;Statements are made about me by certain people in the Crazy Mueller Report, in itself written by 18 Angry Democrat Trump Haters, which are fabricated &amp; totally untrue,&quot; Trump said on Twitter. &quot;It was not necessary for me to respond to statements made in the “Report” about me, some of which are total bulls**t &amp; only given to make the other person look good (or me to look bad).&quot;</p>  <p>The president's comments are a far cry from his claim shortly before the report was made public that Mueller's team's work proved there was &quot;No collusion. No obstruction.&quot;</p>  <p>While the special counsel determined there was a lack of evidence linking the Trump campaign to Russia's attempts to sway the 2016 election in Trump's favor, it was not as clear-cut on obstruction as the president suggested. </p>  <p>&quot;The evidence we obtained about the President’s actions and intent presents difficult issues that would need to be resolved if we were making a traditional prosecutorial judgment,&quot; Mueller wrote, noting he is not doing so based on department practice and significant constitutional latitude given to presidents on how they direct officials.</p>  <p>Still, he added that if his team was confident that Trump was clear of any possible obstruction, it would explicitly state so.</p>  <p>&quot;Based on the facts and the applicable legal standards, we are unable to reach that judgment,&quot; the report says.</p>  <p>The version released to the public Thursday redacts certain material, including information pertaining to ongoing cases, and while Attorney General William Barr said ahead of its release that an unredacted version would be made available to a select group of bipartisan lawmakers, House Judiciary Committee Jerry Nadler subpoenaed the Justice Department for the full report and all underlying information. </p>  <p>&quot;The redactions appear to be significant,&quot; Nadler said in a statement. &quot;We have so far seen none of the actual evidence that the Special Counsel developed to make this case. Even the redacted version of the report outlines serious instances of wrongdoing by President Trump and some of his closest associates. It now falls to Congress to determine the full scope of that alleged misconduct.&quot;</p>  <p>Nadler set a May 1 deadline for the department to comply.

US: Top 10 takeaways from Mueller report

            By Michael Hernandez</p>  <p>WASHINGTON (AA) – U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller's sprawling 448-page report, released Thursday, encompasses his findings from a two-year-long investigation into Russia's attempts to influence the 2016 presidential race. </p>  <p>The extensive probe has led to sweeping indictments as well as guilty pleas from and criminal convictions of members of President Donald Trump's inner circle on charges unrelated to the Russian effort.</p>  <p>Here are the top 10 things you need to know from Mueller's finished product. </p>  <ul><li>Trump feared for his job</li></ul>  <p>&quot;Oh my God. This is terrible. This is the end of my Presidency. I'm f***ed,&quot; Trump said, according to notes of a May 2017 meeting with former Attorney General Jeff Sessions that were obtained by Mueller's team and published in the redacted version of his report. The comments were made just as Robert Mueller was named to lead the independent probe. </p>  <ul><li>The special counsel did not find sufficient evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia's effort to subvert the 2016 election in Trump's favor.</li></ul>  <p>The report notes that while the Russian government sought to sway the election &quot;in sweeping and systematic fashion&quot;, Mueller's team determined &quot;the evidence was not sufficient to charge any campaign official as an unregistered agent of the Russian government or other Russian principal&quot;. </p>  <ul><li>But it did not clear Trump of obstructing justice for seeking to stymy the probe</li></ul>  <p>&quot;The evidence we obtained about the President’s actions and intent presents difficult issues that would need to be resolved if we were making a traditional prosecutorial judgment,&quot; Mueller wrote, noting he is not doing so based on department practice. Still, he added that if his team was confident that Trump was clear of any possible obstruction, it would explicitly make the judgment. &quot;Based on the facts and the applicable legal standards, we are unable to reach that judgment,&quot; Mueller wrote.</p>  <ul><li>Trump ordered former White House counsel to have Mueller fired</li></ul>  <p>Trump directed White House counsel Don McGahn in June 2017 to speak with then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions to fire Mueller because Trump believed he had alleged conflicts of interests.</p>  <ul><li>Mueller's findings emphasize that while his team will not determine one way or another on matters of obstruction, it is Congress' duty to ensure criminal law applies to all persons -- including the president</li></ul>  <p>&quot;Congress clearly has authority to protect its own legislative functions against corrupt efforts to impede legitimate fact-gathering and lawmaking efforts,&quot; Mueller wrote. &quot;Congress enacted the obstruction-of-justice statutes to protect, among other things, the integrity of its own proceedings, grand jury investigations, and other criminal trials. Those objectives are within Congress' authority and serve strong government interests.&quot;</p>  <ul><li>Trump attempted to have former Attorney General Jeff Sessions &quot;unrecuse&quot; himself from the special counsel probe</li></ul>  <p>Sessions' decision to recuse himself from the investigation was a major sticking point with the president, who fumed publicly and behind closed doors about it, at times lambasting the top lawyer in the public eye. Sessions recalled that shortly after news of the special counsel's appointment reached him, Trump told him &quot;you were supposed to protect me,&quot; or similar words. </p>  <ul><li>Mueller says &quot;substantial&quot; evidence supports Comey's version of Flynn's firing over Trump's account</li></ul>  <p>Former FBI Director James Comey, whom Trump abruptly fired, said Trump pressured him into letting former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn off easy for lying to federal investigators, telling him &quot;I hope you can let this go&quot; -- a narrative Trump denies. But the fact that Comey's version of the story, in which he said Trump asked others who were present to leave the room, was corroborated by others who were present, including Sessions, led Mueller to determine that &quot;substantial evidence corroborates Comey's account&quot;.</p>  <ul><li>Trump &quot;repeatedly&quot; asked intelligence leaders to state he had no ties to Russia</li></ul>  <p>The president asked Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and former CIA director and current Secretary of State Mike Pompeo if they could state publicly that there was no nexus between him and Russia following a March 22, 2017 meeting. While he did not recall being asked to stay behind after the meeting -- unlike Coats, who did -- Pompeo &quot;recalled that the president regularly urged officials to get the word out that he had done nothing wrong related to Russia&quot;.</p>  <ul><li>White House spokeswoman lied to the public about reasoning for Comey's firing</li></ul>  <p>At the time of his abrupt dismissal, the White House sought to suggest that Comey was fired because the FBI's rank-and-file was unhappy with his leadership, saying the White House heard from &quot;countless members of the FBI&quot; who lost confidence in Comey. That statement, Sanders admitted to Mueller's team, was completely detached from fact. She sought to explain by saying the statement was a &quot;slip of the tongue&quot; made &quot;in the heat of the moment&quot;.</p>  <ul><li>Stephen Miller wrote the letter terminating Comey</li></ul>  <p>Stephen Miller, Trump's far-right senior advisor, wrote the letter dismissing Comey from his post that sought emphasize, among other things, that Trump was not under investigation. Miller began authoring the letter after Trump asked him to do so during a May 3, 2017 dinner at his New Jersey golf resort.

Trump feared Mueller probe was end his presidency

                 By Michael Hernandez</p>  <p>WASHINGTON (AA) - President Donald Trump feared Special Counsel Robert Mueller's probe would be the end of his presidency, setting off a course of actions Mueller struggled to classify as obstruction of justice.</p>  <p>In the lengthy 448-page report detailing his conclusions, Mueller pointed to 10 &quot;episodes&quot; that raised questions of obstruction, including the president's attempt to remove the special counsel from his post and attempts to curtail his investigation. </p>  <p>Those actions included Trump's June 2017 directive to former White House counsel Don McGahn to speak with then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions to say Mueller must be expelled because Trump believed he had alleged conflicts of interests. </p>  <p>Just one month prior to the directive Trump, in a meeting with Sessions, said he feared Mueller's appointment would lead to the end of his then-nascent presidency. </p>  <p>&quot;Oh my God. This is terrible. This is the end of my Presidency. I'm f***ed,&quot; Trump said, according to notes of that meeting obtained by Mueller's team and published in the redacted version of his report. </p>  <p>Also at issue was Trump's May 2017 firing of former FBI Director James Comey, Trump's efforts to prevent witnesses from cooperating with the probe and his efforts to prevent emails about a meeting between Trump campaign officials and a Russian lawyer from leaking to the public.  </p>  <p>Mueller declined to make a traditional prosecutorial judgment whether Trump should be tried for attempts to obstruct his investigation, citing in part Justice Department practice not to indict a sitting president, as well as the extensive constitutional latitude a president has to direct officials. </p>  <p>&quot;The evidence we obtained about the President’s actions and intent presents difficult issues that would need to be resolved if we were making a traditional prosecutorial judgment,&quot; Mueller wrote. </p>  <p>Still he added that if his team was confident that Trump was clear of any possible obstruction it would explicitly make the judgment.</p>  <p>&quot;Based on the facts and the applicable legal standards, we are unable to reach that judgment,&quot; Mueller wrote. </p>  <p>The reports findings were not enough to deter the president from insisting on Twitter after its publication: &quot;As I have been saying all along, NO COLLUSION - NO OBSTRUCTION!&quot;

“Mueller, Ruslarla gizli iş birliğine dair delil bulamadı”

WASHINGTON (AA) – ABD Adalet Bakanı William Barr, Özel Yetkili Savcı Robert Mueller'ın yürüttüğü Rusya soruşturmasında, "ABD Başkanı Donald Trump veya onun seçim ekibi ile Ruslar arasında herhangi bir gizli iş birliği yapıldığına dair delil bulunmadığı" sonucuna ulaşıldığını açıkladı.

ABD Adalet Bakanı Barr, Rusya soruşturmasıyla ilgili Özel Yetkili Savcı Mueller'ın hazırladığı rapor hakkında basın toplantısı düzenledi.

Barr, "Rus hükümeti başkanlık seçimlerimize müdahale etmeyi amaçladı ancak Mueller’ın raporuna göre, Ruslar Trump ya da onun seçim kampanyası ile herhangi bir gizli iş birliği sağlayamadı." dedi.

Adalet Bakanı Barr ayrıca Mueller'ın "Trump'ın adaleti engellemeye yönelik girişimlerde bulunduğu" şeklindeki yorumlarına katılmadığını, bu sürecin şeffaf ve hassas bir şekilde yürütüldüğünü ve Beyaz Saray'dan herhangi bir baskı görmediklerini ifade etti.

  • Raporu Kongreye gönderdi

Soruşturma sonucunda Trump'ın aklandığı değerlendirmesini yapan Barr, ABD Başkanı'nın "öngörülemez" bir süreçle karşı karşıya kaldığını ve bu süreçte medyada ortaya çıkan atmosferin de kendisi aleyhine çalıştığını söyledi.

Barr, "Başkan'ın kişisel olarak suçlanması konusunda medyada güçlü bir spekülasyon süreci yaşandı fakat kendisinin de başından beri söylediği gibi gerçekten de (Ruslarla) gizli bir iş birliği yoktu." diye konuştu.

Raporun kamuya açık versiyonunu Kongreye ileteceğini belirten Barr, Kongreye gönderildikten sonra raporun kopyasının Adalet Bakanlığının internet sitesinde de yayımlanacağını belirtti.

Barr'ın basın açıklamasından kısa bir süre sonra Mueller raporunun redakte edilmiş hali Adalet Bakanlığının internet sitesinde yayımlandı.

  • Trump sonuçtan memnun

Barr'ın basın toplantısından bir süre sonra Beyaz Saray'da konuyla ilgili olarak basın mensuplarına açıklamalar yapan Trump, "Bugün çok iyi bir gün geçiriyorum." dedi.

Trump, "(Ruslarla) Hiçbir zaman gizli iş birliği yoktu. Bu hile başka bir başkanın başına gelmemeli." ifadesini kullandı.

Öte yandan, Trump'ın Twitter hesabından "Game of Thrones" adlı Amerikan dizisine gönderme yaparak "Oyun bitti: Gizli iş birliği yok, adaleti engelleme yok." şeklinde paylaşımda bulunması dikkati çekti. Trump'ın paylaşımı kısa sürede Twitter'da en çok konuşulan konular arasına girdi.

Özel Savcı Mueller, yaklaşık 2 yıl süren Rusya soruşturması raporunu 22 Mart'ta Adalet Bakanı'na teslim etmiş, William Barr da ertesi gün Kongreye soruşturma sonuçlarıyla ilgili gönderdiği mektubunda, "Özel Yetkili Savcı'nın soruşturmasında, Trump kampanyasının veya onunla ilişkili herhangi bir kişi veya yetkilinin, 2016 başkanlık seçimlerini etkileme çabasında Rusya ile komplo veya iş birliği yaptığı tespit edilmemiştir. Adalet Bakanlığının bulguları ABD Başkanı'nı tam ve kesin olarak aklıyor." değerlendirmesinde bulunmuştu.