Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe report released by Justice Department

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Dan Bongino: Mueller knew from the start that Russia collusion was a hoax

There was no reason for the 'disgrace' of a case to stay open for so long, Fox News contributor Dan Bongino argues.

The Justice Department on Thursday released to Congress and the public Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on his nearly two-year investigation into Russian meddling and potential collusion with Trump campaign associates during the 2016 presidential election.

READ THE REPORT

As stated in Attorney General Bill Barr’s summary last month, and reiterated again at his press conference earlier Thursday morning, the special counsel did not find evidence of collusion with members of the Trump campaign and Russia.

“While the investigation identified numerous links between individuals with ties to the Russian government and individuals associated with the Trump Campaign, the evidence was not sufficient to support criminal charges. Among other things, the evidence was not sufficient to charge any Campaign official as an unregistered agent of the Russian government or other Russian principal,” the special counsel report stated.

The special counsel report also added that the evidence about the controversial June 9, 2016 Trump Tower meeting with members of the campaign and Russian attorney Natalia Veselnitskaya, and WikiLeaks’s “release of hacked materials” was “not sufficient to charge a criminal campaign-finance violation.”

“Further, the evidence was not sufficient to charge that any member of the Trump campaign conspired with representatives of the Russian government to interfere in the 2016 presidential election,” the report said.

The version of the nearly 500-page report that the Justice Department made public Thursday includes redactions, consistent with Barr’s plan to black out portions of the document—including grand jury material, information the intelligence community believes would reveal intelligence sources and methods, any material that could interfere with ongoing prosecutions and information that could implicate the privacy or reputational interests of “peripheral players.”

Democrats, for weeks, demanded to see the full, unredacted report, and blasted Barr for resisting their requests. Barr, though, said that along with the help of the special counsel’s office, he planned to “color code the decisions from the report and provide explanatory notes describing the basis for each redaction.”

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., has already vowed to move “very quickly” to issue subpoenas for the full report should he and his colleagues not be satisfied with the amount of, and basis for, redactions.

The partisan warfare that has marked the probe from the start extended into the report’s release day, with Barr coming under fire from Democrats for his decision to hold a press conference in advance. Barr already had come under fire from Democrats after he issued a four-page summary of the special counsel report, where he stated there was no evidence of collusion between members of the Trump campaign and Russia during the 2016 campaign.

The special counsel also reviewed whether the president had obstructed justice in any way, but ultimately did not come to a conclusion on that issue. Barr and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, though, said the evidence was “not sufficient to establish that the President committed an obstruction-of-justice offense.”

Rosenstein defended Barr’s conduct last week and told The Wall Street Journal that the idea Barr was trying to mislead people was “completely bizarre.”

The evidence detailed in the report related to allegations of obstruction of justice, though, is likely to come under intense scrutiny from congressional Democrats, and could be used in their sweeping Trump-related investigations.

The president’s legal team, in anticipation of obstruction of justice claims in the report, has prepared their own report to counter the allegations.

“They assumed all along that there was going to be a finding of no collusion, so the rebuttal is about obstruction,” a source close to Trump’s legal team told Fox News. “They are preparing a rebuttal to presumed allegations which will be refuted.”

Fox News' Adam Shaw, Jake Gibson, Catherine Herridge and Bill Mears contributed to this report.

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