The Vox guide to Robert Mueller’s Trump-Russia investigation
Special counsel Robert Mueller’s report contains 10 instances where President Donald Trump potentially committed obstruction of justice. Now that the report has been released, we know what they are.
Perhaps most explosively, Mueller said in the report that Trump’s “efforts to influence the investigation were mostly unsuccessful, but that is largely because the persons who surrounded the President declined to carry out orders or accede to his requests.”
In a press conference ahead of the report’s release on Thursday, Attorney General William Barr pointed to 10 specific episodes Mueller investigated for obstruction. Though Barr did not disclose what they were, we now know they include Trump’s decision to fire FBI Director James Comey, his attempts to get former Attorney General Jeff Sessions involved in the investigation, and Trump’s call to then-White House counsel Don McGahn to direct him to get Mueller removed.
Barr also said Thursday morning that he and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein “disagreed with some of the special counsel’s legal theories and felt that some of the episodes examined did not amount to obstruction as a matter of law,” but that wasn’t the only factor in their decision-making. Democrats have already said they’d like to hear from Mueller himself on the report, and the debate about whether these should have amounted to a crime is likely only beginning.
Mueller’s final report on his findings of a nearly two-year investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election outlines two lines of inquiry: collusion and obstruction of justice. Mueller did not come to a conclusion on whether Trump committed obstruction of justice — instead, Barr and Rosenstein made the decision that the evidence was “not sufficient to establish” obstruction.
Below are those 10 episodes Mueller examined in the obstruction section. The report also includes the examination of the Trump campaign’s response to reports of Russian support for Trump. The president apparently worried after his election that reports of Russian interference might “lead the public to question the legitimacy” of his victory.
Here are the 10 instances of potential obstruction Mueller outlines in his report:
Trump asking James Comey to let Michael Flynn go
Trump’s reaction to the Russia investigation
The firing of James Comey
Mueller’s appointment and efforts to oust him
Efforts to curtail the Russia investigation
Attempts to stop the public from seeing the evidence
Trump trying to get Jeff Sessions to take back control of the investigation
Trump telling Don McGahn to deny that the president had wanted the special counsel removed
Trump’s team asking Flynn for a “heads up” on information and commending Paul Manafort for not “flipping”
The president’s changing behavior toward Michael Cohen
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