The FBI special counsel’s 22-month investigation found no evidence of his having colluded with Russia during the 2016 presidential election, according to attorney-general William Barr, who reviewed the filing over the weekend after being appointed by the president in February.
“In terms of political payback, the people that I’ve talked to in the White House over the last 24 hours talk about what this means for 2020 and where we go from here. And I think you are going to see [Trump] use this as a political bludgeon,” ex-White House staffer Cliff Sims told CNN.
The FBI is meanwhile poised to brief the leaders of the House and Senate and the chairmen of the two chambers’ intelligence committees on Robert Mueller’s findings as to whether the president or anyone close to him is under the influence of a foreign power. Senior Democrats are meanwhile weighing up their options with regard to possible impeachment proceedings against the president.
Radiating a sense of vindication, Mr Trump strode into the Senate Republicans' lunch on Tuesday flanked by party leaders. GOP senators applauded.
“It could not have been better,” he said of the summary of the Mueller report by Mr Barr, which did not find the president colluded with Russia over the 2016 elections.
He told senators he was given a “clean bill of health,” according to those in the room.
But Mr Trump cut short the celebration by quickly turning senators focus on the challenges ahead, claiming, “The Republican Party will soon be known as the party of health care. You watch!”
Inside the meeting, he urged Republicans to figure out a way to repeal Barack Obama's signature health care law and replace it with a GOP version, a major goal that has eluded the party during the first years of his presidency.
Mr Trump's trip to Capitol Hill came right after his administration said late Monday it would not defend the Affordable Care Act in a court challenge - and as the House Democrats, led by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, were unveiling a sweeping measure to rescue the program.
Additional reporting by AP. Read live updates from The Independent below.
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