Attorney General William P. Barr resolved journalists on Thursday ahead of the release of a redacted version of the report by the unique counsel, Robert S. Mueller III.
The following are Mr. Barr’s prepared remarks, as launched by the Justice Department.
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ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES WILLIAM P. BARR: Excellent Morning. Thank you all for being here today.
On March 22, 2019, Unique Counsel Robert Mueller concluded his examination of matters associated with Russian attempts to interfere in the 2016 governmental election and sent his private report to me pursuant to Department of Justice policies.
As I said during my Senate confirmation hearing and considering that, I am committed to guaranteeing the best possible degree of openness concerning the Unique Counsel’s examination, constant with the law.
At 11: 00 today, I will transfer copies of a public variation of the Unique Counsel’s report to the Chairmen and Ranking Members of your house and Senate Judiciary Committees. The Department of Justice will likewise make the report available to the American public by posting it on the Department’s site after it has actually been provided to Congress.
I wish to provide a few remarks today on the report.
But prior to I do that, I desire to thank Deputy Lawyer General Rod Rosenstein for joining me here today and for his help and counsel throughout this procedure. Rod has actually served the Department of Justice for lots of years with devotion and distinction, and it has actually been a fantastic privilege and pleasure to work with him since my verification. He had well-deserved plans to step back from civil service that I interrupted by asking him to assist in my shift. Rod has been an important partner, and I am grateful that he wanted to help me and has had the ability to see the Special Counsel’s investigation to its conclusion. Thank you, Rod.
I would also like to thank Special Counsel Mueller for his service and the thoroughness of his examination, particularly his work exposing the nature of Russia’s attempts to interfere in our electoral process.
As you understand, one of the primary purposes of the Unique Counsel’s investigation was to determine whether members of the presidential project of Donald J. Trump, or any individuals connected with that project, conspired or collaborated with the Russian federal government to interfere in the 2016 election. Volume I of the Special Counsel’s report explains the results of that examination. As you will see, the Unique Counsel’s report states that his “examination did not develop that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or collaborated with the Russian government in its election disturbance activities.”
I am sure that all Americans share my issues about the efforts of the Russian government to interfere in our governmental election. As the Special Counsel’s report makes clear, the Russian government looked for to interfere in our election. But thanks to the Unique Counsel’s comprehensive examination, we now understand that the Russian operatives who perpetrated these plans did not have the cooperation of President Trump or the Trump campaign– or the knowing support of any other Americans for that matter. That is something that all Americans can and need to be grateful to have confirmed.
The Unique Counsel’s report details 2 primary efforts by the Russian federal government to affect the 2016 election:
First, the report information efforts by the Web Research Study Firm, a Russian company with close ties to the Russian federal government, to plant social discord amongst American citizens through disinformation and social media operations. Following an extensive investigation of this disinformation project, the Special Counsel brought charges in federal court against a number of Russian nationals and entities for their particular roles in this plan. Those charges remain pending, and the individual defendants remain at large.
But the Unique Counsel discovered no evidence that any Americans– including anybody associated with the Trump campaign– conspired or collaborated with the Russian government or the Individual Retirement Account in performing this prohibited plan. Indeed, as the report states, “[t] he examination did not identify evidence that any U.S. persons intentionally or purposefully coordinated with the IRA’s interference operation.” Put another way, the Special Counsel discovered no “collusion” by any Americans in the IRA’s unlawful activity.
2nd, the report information efforts by Russian military officials related to the GRU to hack into computer systems and steal documents and e-mails from people associated with the Democratic Party and the governmental campaign of Hillary Rodham Clinton for the purpose of ultimately publicizing those emails. Getting such unapproved gain access to into computer systems is a federal criminal activity. Following a thorough investigation of these hacking operations, the Unique Counsel brought charges in federal court against several Russian military officers for their respective functions in these unlawful hacking activities. Those charges are still pending and the defendants remain at large.
However again, the Unique Counsel’s report did not discover any proof that members of the Trump campaign or anyone associated with the project conspired or collaborated with the Russian federal government in its hacking operations. Simply put, there was no evidence of Trump project “collusion” with the Russian federal government’s hacking.
The Special Counsel’s investigation likewise took a look at Russian efforts to publish stolen emails and files on the internet. The Special Counsel found that, after the GRU disseminated some of the stolen products through its own regulated entities, DCLeaks and Guccifer 2.0, the GRU transferred some of the taken materials to Wikileaks for publication. Wikileaks then made a series of file dumps. The Unique Counsel likewise examined whether any member or affiliate of the Trump project motivated or otherwise contributed in these dissemination efforts. Under applicable law, publication of these kinds of products would not be criminal unless the publisher likewise got involved in the underlying hacking conspiracy. Here too, the Unique Counsel’s report did not discover that anybody associated with the Trump project illegally took part in the dissemination of the materials.
Finally, the Special Counsel examined a variety of “links” or “contacts” in between Trump Campaign officials and people gotten in touch with the Russian federal government throughout the 2016 presidential campaign. After evaluating those contacts, the Special Counsel did not discover any conspiracy to violate U.S. law including Russia-linked persons and anybodies connected with the Trump project.
So that is the bottom line. After almost two years of investigation, thousands of subpoenas, and numerous warrants and witness interviews, the Special Counsel validated that the Russian federal government sponsored efforts to unlawfully disrupt the 2016 governmental election however did not discover that the Trump campaign or other Americans conspired in those plans.
After discovering no underlying collusion with Russia, the Special Counsel’s report goes on to consider whether particular actions of the President might amount to obstruction of the Unique Counsel’s investigation. As I resolved in my March 24 th letter, the Special Counsel did not make a standard prosecutorial judgment concerning this accusation. Rather, the report recounts 10 episodes involving the President and goes over potential legal theories for linking these actions to components of a blockage offense.
After carefully reviewing the truths and legal theories outlined in the report, and in assessment with the Office of Legal Counsel and other Department attorneys, the Deputy Attorney General Of The United States and I concluded that the evidence developed by the Special Counsel is not adequate to establish that the President committed an obstruction-of-justice offense.
Although the Deputy Attorney General and I disagreed with some of the Unique Counsel’s legal theories and felt that a few of the episodes analyzed did not total up to blockage as a matter of law, we did not rely exclusively on that in making our decision. Rather, we accepted the Unique Counsel’s legal structure for functions of our analysis and examined the evidence as presented by the Unique Counsel in reaching our conclusion.
In assessing the President’s actions talked about in the report, it is very important to remember the context. President Trump dealt with an extraordinary circumstance. As he got in into workplace, and sought to perform his duties as President, federal representatives and district attorneys were scrutinizing his conduct before and after taking workplace, and the conduct of some of his associates. At the same time, there was relentless speculation in the news media about the President’s individual culpability. Yet, as he said from the beginning, there remained in reality no collusion. And as the Unique Counsel’s report acknowledges, there is considerable proof to reveal that the President was annoyed and angered by a sincere belief that the investigation was undermining his presidency, propelled by his political opponents, and sustained by prohibited leakages. Nevertheless, the White House totally cooperated with the Special Counsel’s investigation, supplying unfettered access to campaign and White Home documents, directing senior assistants to testify freely, and asserting no advantage claims. And at the exact same time, the President took no act that in reality denied the Unique Counsel of the files and witnesses necessary to complete his investigation. Apart from whether the acts were obstructive, this proof of non-corrupt intentions weighs greatly versus any allegation that the President had a corrupt intent to obstruct the examination.
Now, prior to I take questions, I desire to address a couple of elements of the process for producing the general public report that I am launching today. As I said a number of times, the report contains limited redactions connecting to 4 categories of details. To ensure as much openness as possible, these redactions have actually been plainly labelled and color-coded so that readers can tell which redactions correspond to which classifications.
As you will see, the majority of the redactions were obliged by the need to prevent harm to ongoing matters and to abide by court orders prohibiting the general public disclosure of info bearing upon continuous examinations and criminal cases, such as the Individual Retirement Account case and the Roger Stone case.
These redactions were used by Department of Justice attorneys working carefully together with lawyers from the Special Counsel’s Workplace, as well as with the intelligence community, and prosecutors who are handling continuous cases. The redactions are their work item.
Consistent with enduring Executive Branch practice, the decision whether to assert Executive opportunity over any portion of the report rested with the President of the United States. Because the White House voluntarily complied with the Special Counsel’s examination, significant portions of the report consist of product over which the President might have asserted advantage. And he would have been well within his rights to do so. Following my March 29 th letter, the Workplace of the White Home Counsel requested the chance to review the redacted variation of the report in order to advise the President on the potential invocation of privilege, which is constant with long-standing practice. Following that evaluation, the President verified that, in the interests of openness and full disclosure to the American individuals, he would not assert privilege over the Special Counsel’s report. Appropriately, the general public report I am releasing today consists of redactions just for the four categories that I previously detailed, and no material has been redacted based upon executive privilege.
In addition, previously today, the President’s personal counsel asked for and were provided the chance to read a final version of the redacted report before it was openly released. That demand was consistent with the practice followed under the Principles in Government Act, which allowed people called in a report prepared by an Independent Counsel the opportunity to check out the report before publication. The President’s personal attorneys were not allowed to make, and did not request, any redactions.
In addition to making the redacted report public, we are likewise devoted to dealing with Congress to accommodate their genuine oversight interests with regard to the Unique Counsel’s investigation. We have been talking to Chairman Graham and Chairman Nadler throughout this process, and we will continue to do so.
Given the restricted nature of the redactions, I believe that the publicly launched report will enable every American to comprehend the outcomes of the Special Counsel’s investigation. Nonetheless, in an effort to accommodate congressional demands, we will provide to a bipartisan group of leaders from several Congressional committees a variation of the report with all redactions got rid of other than those associating with grand-jury information. Therefore, these members of Congress will be able to see all of the redacted product on their own– with the restricted exception of that which, by law, can not be shared.
I think that this lodging, together with my approaching testament prior to the Senate and House Judiciary Committees, will please any requirement Congress has for information relating to the Special Counsel’s investigation.
Once once again, I would like to thank you all for being here today. I now have a few minutes for questions.