- Key findings from special counsel's Trump investigation
- Redacted report finds Russians 'did not have cooperation of President'
- Trump tweets 'GAME OVER' and says 'I'm having a good day'
- Mueller found Trump's answers 'inadequate' but decided against subpoena
- Democrats decry 'partisan effort to spin Mueller report'
- Analysis: Mueller's report shows how Donald Trump was saved from himself
Donald Trump ordered the removal of special counsel Robert Mueller after expressing fears the Russia probe would “end” his presidency, the newly released Mueller report concluded.
The US president phoned his White House legal counsel weeks after Mr Mueller had been appointed to lead the Russian election meddling investigation and said he “had to go”.
The order, which ultimately was not acted upon, was one of 11 incidents of alleged obstruction of justice which Mr Mueller recounted in detail in his 448-page report, released with redactions on Thursday.
Other controversial episodes included Mr Trump attempting to limit the Russia probe’s remit and trying to put one of his cabinet members back in charge of the investigation.
Mr Mueller did not clear the president over obstruction of justice, instead handing that decision on to Mr Trump's Justice Department – who in turn decided not to bring charges.
"If we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the president clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state,” Mr Mueller’s report concluded.
"Based on the facts and the applicable legal standards, however, we are unable to reach that judgment.
“Accordingly, while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.”
The obstruction of justice findings formed only half of Mr Mueller’s report, with volume one looking at Russian election meddling in the 2016 presidential campaign – the original reason for the probe.
Those findings were much more categoric for the president. Mr Mueller concluded that neither Mr Trump nor his campaign advisers conspired with Russia during the 2016 campaign.
Mr Mueller found that figures linked to the Russian government made a "systematic" attempt to influence the election, both by hacking Democratic Party emails and spreading disinformation to US voters.
Mr Mueller did find that the Trump campaign had "expected" to benefit electorally from "information stolen and released through Russian efforts" and in some instances figures were “receptive” to offers.
However he concluded no crime had been committed, saying that the Trump campaign had not "coordinated or conspired with the Russian government".
TOLD YA!!!— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) April 18, 2019
Mr Trump had proclaimed victory even before the report was published, tweeting an image in the style of TV show Game of Thrones with the words “GAME OVER”.
The president’s lawyers called the report a “total victory”, adding: “This vindication of the President is an important step forward for the country and a strong reminder that this type of abuse must never be permitted to occur again.”
Leading Democrats criticised the administration’s handling of the report – which saw Mr Trump’s attorney general giving a press conference before publication – but remained largely silent on its contents.
Findings in volume two of the report, about Mr Trump’s actions towards the probe and whether they amounted to obstruction of justice, contained many new details.
It recounted how Mr Trump said after Mr Mueller was appointed in May 2017: “Oh my God. This is terrible. This is the end of my Presidency. I’m f-----.”
In total 11 separate incidents of alleged obstruction were looked at, many of which had been reported before, giving detailed accounts of what happened and whether it could amount to a crime.
One involved Mr Trump calling Don McGahn, at the time his White House counsel, and ordering him to remove Mr Mueller. The report says that in June 2017, The Washington Post reported that Mr Mueller was investigating whether the president himself had obstructed justice.
The following Saturday, Mr Trump called Mr McGahn twice and urged him to tell the man overseeing the probe – Rod Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general – that Mr Mueller had conflicts of interest.
Mr McGahn recalled Mr Trump telling him in the second call that “Mueller had to go”. Instead of following the direction Mr McGahn prepared to resign, but was persuaded not to by senior advisers.
Another incident recounted in the report described how Mr Trump met with Corey Lewandowski, his former campaign manager, alone in the White House.
During the meeting Mr Trump is said to have “dictated a message” meant for Jeff Sessions, his then attorney general, attempting to limit the probe’s scope to Russian meddling in future elections only.
In a third instant, Mr Trump ordered Mr McGahn to issue a statement denying he had been ordered to get rid of Mr Mueller by the president after the press got wind of the story. He refused to do so.
Mr Mueller ultimately concluded that Mr Trump’s attempts to limit the investigation were largely unsuccessful because those people ordered by the president to take certain steps decided not to do so.
There were also new details in volume one, which looked at Russia election interference. A key focus of the investigation was a meeting on June 9, 2016 between senior campaign figures, including Donald Trump Jr, and a Russian lawyer at Trump Tower.
Mr Mueller said emails setting up the meeting showed "that the campaign anticipated receiving information from Russia that could assist candidate Trump's electoral prospects".
However, he concluded the meeting did not rise to the level of a criminal conspiracy to collude with Russia. He said the "evidence was not sufficient to charge any campaign official" with being an unregistered agent of the Russian government, or with campaign finance violations.
The Mueller report also found that the Trump campaign had been tipped off before the election about the presence of potentially damaging Russian “tapes” from when he visited for the Miss Universe Pageant. It is unclear what the tapes were said to show.
William Barr, the US attorney general, used a press conference earlier in the day to explain Mr Trump’s actions towards the investigation, saying that the president had been “frustrated and angered”.
Attending an event in the White House on Thursday, Mr Trump said: "I'm having a good day. It's called 'No collusion, no obstruction'."
Democrats won't pursue impeachment
The two most senior Democrats in Congress, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer have issued a joint statement criticising the administration’s handling of the report.
They said there are "stark" differences between what Mr Barr and Mr Mueller have said about obstruction of justice.
As we continue to review the report, one thing is clear: AG Barr presented a conclusion that @realDonaldTrump did not obstruct justice while the #MuellerReport appears to undercut that finding. pic.twitter.com/mHCzGc8RGT— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) April 18, 2019
However, Democrats have indicated they would not pursue impeachment of Mr Trump based on the Mueller report. Steny Hoyer, the Democrat leader in the House of Representatives, said: "Based on what we have seen to date, going forward on impeachment is not worthwhile at this point. "Very frankly, there is an election in 18 months and the American people will make a judgment."
Trump's personal legal team reviewed report
The president's personal lawyer, Jay Sekulow, said he was not briefed on the Mueller report but was able to review it in a secure room in the Department of Justice.
Democrat: Mueller report a 'road map' for Congress
Congressman Jerry Nadler, chair of the House Judiciary Committee, has just held a press conference. He accused attorney general Bill Barr of undermining "an unsettling willingness to undermine his own department in order to protect President Trump”.
He said it was “disingenuous and misleading” of Mr Barr to say Mr Trump is “clear of wrongdoing”.
Mr Nadler told reporters in New York that Mr Mueller probably wrote the report with the intent of providing Congress a road map for future action, but the congressman said it was "too early" to talk about impeachment.
HBO unimpressed by Trump tweet
HBO responds to Trump's GoT-themed tweet: “Though we can understand the enthusiasm for Game of Thrones now that the final season has arrived, we still prefer our intellectual property not be used for political purposes.” https://t.co/KOZ17dXhkz— Brian Fung (@b_fung) April 18, 2019
Russia: 'Mueller investigation is a bad TV series'
Alec Luhn in Moscow reports:
Russian state television has finally picked up on the Mueller report, covering it in its second story on the six o'clock news—after Vladimir Putin discussing new road projects with the Moscow governor—and comparing the investigation to a "bad television series".
"There was no collusion. Prosecutor general William Barr confirmed that neither Trump nor any other Americans had any agreements with Russia," the state television anchor began.
"The US press has claimed every day for two years that Trump colluded with Russia, it was as if you could be shot for expressing any other opinion. Russia was of course to blame for everything, but in fact neither Trump nor any other American was involved with Russian. This conclusion cost Americans $25 million. In reality, the Mueller commission didn't find anything."
"In the United States they think Russia interfered in the election, but Trump had nothing to do with this," the channel's correspondent in Washington told viewers.
A Kremlin spokesman, when asked whether Mr Putin will be told about the Mueller report, said: "First we have to flip through the document to understand if there's anything there worth analysing."
Trump campaign says 'investigate' those who started the Russia probe
Brad Parscale, Mr Trump's 2020 campaign manager, has issued a statement.
He said: "President Trump has been fully and completely exonerated yet again. Now the tables have turned, and it’s time to investigate the liars who instigated this sham investigation into President Trump, motivated by political retribution and based on no evidence whatsoever.
"Now that the collusion and obstruction conspiracy theories have been exposed for the pathetic hoaxes they always were, the Obama-era department of justice and FBI must answer for their misdeeds, and the scam that they perpetrated against the American people. Justice will be served."
Why Mueller decided not to prosecute Trump Jnr
The investigation decided not to prosecute the president's son, Donald Jnr, and other members of the campaign for campaign finance violations over their infamous Trump Tower meeting because they couldn't prove their "mental state".
"Taking into account the high burden to establish a culpable mental state in a campaign-finance prosecution and the difficulty in establishing the required valuation, the Office decided not to pursue criminal campaign-finance charges against Trump Jr. or other campaign officials for the events culminating in the June 9 meeting." Mr Mueller added: "A prosecution would encounter difficulties proving that Campaign officials or individuals connected to the Campaign willfully violated the law."
The report also notes that when journalists learned that a Russian lawyer had proposed the June meeting and offered damaging information on Hillary Clinton, Mr Trump edited Donald Jnr's response to the reporters admitting those facts. Instead, Donald Jnr's statement claimed the meeting had been about adoptions. He later acknowledged the real reason but described it as "opposition research".
Mr Trump's personal lawyer "repeatedly denied the president had played any role" to journalist, the report states.
Trump attempted to fire Mueller
Mr Trump called then White House counsel Don McGahn in June 2017 and directed him to call the acting attorney general and say Mr Mueller "had conflicts of interest and must be removed". Mr McGahn refused to do so, saying he would "rather resign".
Russians targeted Clinton within hours of Trump appeal
Mueller says Russian intelligence targeted Clinton’s personal office within five hours of Trump publicly requesting it on July 27, 2016— John Harwood (@JohnJHarwood) April 18, 2019
Trump: 'I'm f----d' after Mueller appointment
After Mr Mueller's appointment Donald Trump said: ''I'm f----d'.
According to the report, Mr Trump was devastated when Mr Mueller was appointed as special counsel.
He told attorney general Jeff Sessions: "Oh my God this is terrible. This is the end of my presidency. I' m f----d. How could you let this happen Jeff?
"Everyone tells me if you get one of these independent counsels it ruins your presidency. It takes years and years and I won't be able to do anything.
"This is the worst thing that has ever happened to me."
Mueller 'unable' to conclude Donald Trump was 'not guilty of obstruction'
Mr Mueller said in his investigation report he was unable to declare Mr Trump not guilty of obstruction of justice based on the evidence.
He wrote: "If we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the president clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state.
"Based on the facts and the applicable legal standards, however, we are unable to reach that judgment."
BREAKING: Mueller said he lacked confidence to clear Donald Trump of obstruction of justice but suggested Congress could take action on at least 10 instances where the president sought to interfere with the probe.— Mike Dorning (@MikeDorning) April 18, 2019
House Democrats call for Mueller to testify before them
Adam Schiff, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, has "formally invited" Mr Mueller to testify before the committee.
"After a two year investigation, the public deserves the facts, not Attorney General Barr’s political spin," Mr Schiff says.
The House Intelligence Committee has formally invited Special Counsel Mueller to testify on the counterintelligence investigation.— Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) April 18, 2019
After a two year investigation, the public deserves the facts, not Attorney General Barr’s political spin. pic.twitter.com/PWIXvl7MLv
Republicans have hit back, saying it is time to "move on".
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy's statement: "It is time to move on."— Josh Kraushaar (@HotlineJosh) April 18, 2019
Russia investigation sparked 14 other probes
Mr Mueller referred 14 investigations to other state prosecutors, including one of Mr Trump's former lawyer Michael Cohen and one involving President Obama's former White House counsel Greg Craig.
The other 12 investigations have been redacted.
Mueller found Trump's answers 'inadequate' but decided against subpoena
Mr Mueller's team considered Mr Trump's written answers "inadequate", but decided against issuing a subpoena for an in-person interview because it would delay the investigation, the report reveals.
The special counsel wrote in the report: "We made the decision in view of the substantial delay that such an investigative step would likely produce at a late stage in our investigation".
"We had sufficient evidence to understand relevant events and to make certain assessments without the President's testimony." The report also states that although the Office of Legal Council has concluded a sitting president cannot be prosecuted, "a criminal investigation during a President’s term is permissible."
The report also highlights that the OLC legal opinion recognises that Mr Trump "does not have immunity" after he leaves office.
Mueller report released to public
A redacted version of the special counsel's report has been released to the public. You can find all 448 pages here.
Trump: I'm having a 'good day'
Donald Trump says he is having a 'good day'. Attending an event for Wounded Warriors the president said: "I'm having a good day. Its' called 'No collusion, no obstruction'.
"There never was there never will be. This should never happen to another president again, this hoax."
Pelosi: 'staggering partisan effort to spin Mueller report'
Nancy Pelosi, the Democrat House Speaker, says: "AG Barr has confirmed the staggering partisan effort by the Trump admin to spin the public's view" of the Mueller report.
Russia says it is not concerned by Mueller report
Alec Luhn in Moscow writes: Vladimir Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the Russian president is not following the publication of the Mueller report.
"For us this isn't an issue, it's not a topic of interest, it's not a topic of fear, it's not a topic of concern. All these reports by Mueller and other reports about this until today have not brought anything besides superficial, unprofessional statements. We have lots of other important, interesting, fruitful and constructive affairs, so we prefer to concentrate on that," Mr Peskov said.
Specifically, Mr Putin was shown on state TV meeting with the governor of the Moscow region to discuss the development of the road system today. At the same time, Mr Peskov confirmed that Mr Trump's security council Russia advisor Fiona Hill did indeed visit Moscow, as was reported by a Russian newspaper this morning. She met in the Kremlin with top Putin advisor Sergei Ushakov to discuss "questions of bilateral relations" when she was in Moscow on April 16-17, he said. He said she did not discuss a possible meeting between Trump and Putin.
Trump: 'Game over'
Mr Barr concludes his 22-minute press conference which was full of positive news for the president. As he took questions Mr Barr was asked to defend himself against accusations that he was spinning the report on Mr Trump's behalf. Mr Barr dismissed the question and brought the q&a session to a close shortly afterwards.
Meanwhile Mr Trump, who was watching the conference live from the White House, tweeted "no obstruction, no collusion. Game over" with a Game of Thrones inspired image of himself.
Barr says Trump had 'non-corrupt motives' and 'cooperated fully'
Mr Barr says: "Evidence of non-corrupt motives weighs heavily against any allegation that the president had a corrupt intent to obstruct the investigation.
"There is substantial evidence to show that the president was frustrated and angered by a sincere belief that the investigation was undermining his presidency, propelled by his political opponents, and fueled by illegal leaks."
He went on to say: "The White House fully cooperated with the special counsel's investigation, providing unfettered access to campaign and White House documents, directing senior aides to testify freely, and asserting no privilege claims."
He says none of the redactions in the report were made due to executive privilege, a legal doctrine that allows the president to withhold information from other government branches.
The White House counsel was given an opportunity to read the report before publication.
10 episodes of Trump obstruction of justice
Mr Barr says Mr Mueller examined ten episodes pertaining to President Trump and obstruction of justice.
The report "recounts ten episodes involving the president and discusses potential legal theories for connecting these actions to elements of an obstruction offence".
But he added that he and Rod Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general, had decided "the evidence developed by the special counsel is not sufficient to establish that the president committed an obstruction of justice offence."
We do not yet know what these episodes relate to but the firing of FBI director James Comey is likely to be one of them. At the time, the Trump administration said they were taking the action because of his handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation. However, Mr Trump later admitted in an NBC interview that "this Russia thing" was on his mind when he fired him.
Trump faced 'unprecedented situation'
Mr Barr says "in assessing the president's actions discussed in the report, it is important to bear in mind the context. President Trump faced an unprecedented situation".
"As he entered into office, and sought to perform his responsibilities as president, federal agents and prosecutors were scrutinising his conduct before and after taking office, and the conduct of some of his associates. At the same time, there was relentless speculation in the news media about the president's personal culpability."
Trump campaign did not collude with Russia, AG says
Attorney General Bill Barr began by talking about Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. He said: "I am sure all Americans share my concern about the Russian attempt to interfere in our investigation. Thanks to the special counsel's investigation we now know that the Russians did not have the co-operation of President Trump or the Trump campaign. "
Barr and Rosenstein 'disagreed' with Mueller on obstruction of justice
Attorney General Bill Barr opens his press conference by stating he is "committed to ensuring the greatest degree” of transparency. Mr Barr says he will deliver a redacted copy of the Mueller report to Congress at 11am (4pm UK) and the report will then be posted the department’s website.
“Volume 1” of Mr Mueller’s report focuses on the question of Trump-Russia collusion, Mr Barr says. Going on to say it "did not establish that members of the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government.”
He went on to thank his deputy Rod Rosenstein, who oversaw the Russia investigation, for staying on to see its conclusion. However he went on to say that he and Mr Rosenstein disagreed with some of Mr Mueller's "legal theories" about obstruction of justice.
'No collusion - no obstruction!'
President Donald Trump has posted his own video cut of the last two years.
No Collusion - No Obstruction! pic.twitter.com/diggF8V3hl— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 18, 2019
5am texts from Trump's lawyer
Rudy Giuliani, the president's lawyer, has been up since the crack of dawn briefing the press on the White House's take on the report. “Ready to rumble,” Mr Giuliani texted the Washington Post in anticipation of the Mueller report, adding the counter-report his team has been preparing is "30 or so” pages “without appendix.”
Robert Mueller may be called to Congress
House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler said on Wednesday he would "probably find it useful" to call Robert Mueller and members of his team to testify after reading a redacted version of the report.
Mr Nadler also criticised the attorney general for trying to "bake in the narrative" of the report to the benefit of the White House.
Late Wednesday, Mr Nadler joined the chairs of four other House committees in calling for William Barr to cancel his news conference. But Doug Collins of Georgia, the ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee, defended Mr Barr and accused Democrats of "trying to spin the report."
Mr Collins said Mr Barr had done "nothing unilaterally," saying he had worked with Mr Rosenstein and Mr Mueller’s team "step by step."
Democrats have vowed to fight in court for the disclosure of the additional information from the report and say they have subpoenas ready to go if it is heavily redacted.