If you have been eagerly awaiting the release of the redacted version of the Mueller report, you probably had some preconceptions about what it would contain, broadly speaking. You probably assumed that the report would reaffirm Mueller’s earlier intimation that there was no collusion. You also probably assumed that the question of whether there was obstruction of justice would be unresolved, again per Mueller’s capsule description (even though it remains as head-scratching as ever how there can be obstruction in the absence of a crime).
Moments ago the report was released, and generally speaking it contains no surprises. On the issue of obstruction, the Washington Post notes:
[I]nvestigators struggled with both the legal implications of investigating President Trump for possible obstruction of justice, and the motives behind a range of his most alarming actions, from seeking the ouster of former officials to ordering a memo that would clear his name.
By “ouster of former officials” the Post writers are referring clearly to Trump’s firing of James Comey, who as FBI director served at the president’s privilege and, as such, was susceptible to being dismissed at will for any of a number of reasons. Trump said in May 2018 that Comey’s firing had nothing to do with Russiagate, and apparently Mueller’s team found nothing in their investigation to disprove that claim.
The redactions in the report are also as predicted, which is to say that they can be intrusive. For example, early in the report, in the executive summary to Volume I (the report represents the first of two volumes), the text breaks off midway through the sentence that begins “In mid-2014, the IRA sent employees of the United States on an intelligence-gathering mission with instructions.” The remainder is blacked out, meaning the nature of the mission and the instructions are for now destined to remain enigmas.
Grounds for redactions (example: harm to ongoing matter) are also provided.
Ultimately, the report arrives at the same bottom-line conclusion as Attorney General William Barr’s four-page summary, which is to say that the Special Counsel found no evidence of collusion but is unable to exonerate the president on the charge of obstructing justice.
The complete report, provided by LU contributor Jeff Dunetz, follows.
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