The release of the special counsel’s “principal conclusions” Sunday prompted swift reaction from lawmakers, former national security officials and media pundits who seized on the finding that there was no coordination during the 2016 presidential campaign between Donald Trump’s campaign and Russia.
Attorney General William Barr sent congressional leaders his summary of the confidential report he received Friday from special counsel Robert Mueller, whose team spent the past 22 months investigating Russian interference in the 2016 White House race.
“While the report does not conclude that the president committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him,” the four-page summary said.
Inside the White House and the Republican Party, President Donald Trump’s allies embraced the findings they said exonerated the president.
Dan Scavino, Trump’s social media director, tweeted, “As we already knew, NO COLLUSION! Nothing different from what President @realDonaldTrump has been saying for the past TWO YEARS!!!”
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., who played golf with the president in Florida on Sunday, called it a “good day for the rule of law. Great day for President Trump and his team. No collusion and no obstruction. The cloud hanging over President Trump has been removed by this report.”
Graham added that it was a “bad day for those hoping the Mueller investigation would take President Trump down.”
James Clapper, a former director of national intelligence, said Mueller’s investigation reaffirms Russia’s involvement in a disinformation campaign and the hacking of the Democratic National Committee in the lead-up to the 2016 election.
“It’s a shame that the president refuses to call that out or to acknowledge what the Russians did,” he said in an interview on CNN. “That kind of interference is continuing and we can look forward to it again in 2020.”
Alan Dershowitz, a law professor, was critical of Mueller for not reaching a definitive conclusion on the question of obstruction of justice.
“I thought it was a cop-out,” he said in an interview on Fox News Channel. “It sounds like a law school exam. That’s not the job of the prosecutor. The job of the prosecutor is to decide yes or no. Make a decision. If you say ‘yes,’ you indict. If you say ‘no,’ you shut up,” Dershowitz said.
Immediately after the summary was made public, the president’s supporters and aides repeated Trump’s mantra that there was “no collusion” with Russia.
On Fox News Channel, Brett Baier called the report “a complete win for President Trump.”
“It’s a vindication,” he said, moments after the summary was released. “If you’re left or right, you should be happy that there is not somebody in America who conspired with Russia. ”