25 Mar 2019

Mueller report doesn't conclude Trump committed a crime, nor does it exonerate him

10:09 am on 25 March 2019

The Mueller report doesn't conclude US President Donald Trump committed a crime, but neither does it exonerate him, US House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler says.

FILE - In this Oct. 28, 2013, file photo, former FBI Director Robert Mueller is seated at FBI Headquarters in Washington. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File)

Photo: AP

The US Attorney General has sent summary of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report into alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia to Congress.

Mr Nadler said he received a "very brief letter" from the US Department of Justice (DOJ) on the report.

The DOJ was "determined not to make a traditional prosecutorial judgement", Mr Nadler said on Twitter.

It also seemed "like the [DOJ] is putting matters squarely in Congress' court", he said.

"[Attorney General William Barr] says that the President may have acted to obstruct justice, but that for an obstruction conviction, 'the government would need to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a person, acting with corrupt intent, engaged in obstructive conduct'.

"But Special Counsel Mueller clearly and explicitly is not exonerating the President, and we must hear from AG Barr about his decision making and see all the underlying evidence for the American people to know all the facts."

US President Donald Trump speaks after touring the Lima Army Tank Plant at Joint Systems Manufacturing in Lima, Ohio, March 20, 2019. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP)

US President Donald Trump. Photo: AFP / Saul Loeb

Mr Trump told reporters that the report showed there was no collusion with Russia and no obstruction of justice.

"It was a complete and totally exoneration.

"It's a shame the country had to go through this, to be honest it's a shame your president has had to go through this - before I even got elected it began."

"This was an illegal takedown that failed and hopefully somebody's going to be looking at the other side."

He said lots of people had been "badly hurt" by the investigation.

The long-awaited report was submitted on Friday to Mr Barr, who pored over the document before handing a summary to Congress.

The report is the culmination of two years of investigation by Mr Mueller.

In the course of their investigation, Mr Mueller and his team have already charged 34 people - including six former Trump aides and a dozen Russians - as well as three companies.

None of those charges directly related to the allegations of collusion between the campaign and Moscow - allegations that President Trump has always denied.

Mr Trump was not interviewed by Mr Mueller's team.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders also tweeted the findings were an "exoneration".

What happens next with the Mueller report?

Legally, the attorney general is under no obligation to release the report publicly, but during his confirmation hearings before senators Mr Barr vowed to release as much as he could.

A number of senior Democrats, including presidential hopefuls Beto O'Rourke, Bernie Sanders, Cory Booker, Amy Klobuchar, Kirsten Gillibrand, and Julian Castro, have called for the full release of the report.

The House of Representatives, newly controlled by the Democratic party following last year's mid-term elections, will also continue to investigate the Trump administration and could ask Mr Mueller to testify or instruct Mr Barr to provide relevant materials.

You can read the letter from the US attorney general here.

- RNZ with BBC

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs