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The Mueller Report Is Here. No Conspiracy, But No Exoneration. What's Next?

Special Counsel Robert Mueller walks past the White House after attending services at St. John's Episcopal Church, in Washington, Sunday, March 24, 2019. (Cliff Owen/AP)
Special Counsel Robert Mueller walks past the White House after attending services at St. John's Episcopal Church, in Washington, Sunday, March 24, 2019. (Cliff Owen/AP)

Find our buildout from this hour, featuring a partial transcription, here.

With Meghna Chakrabarti

Attorney General William Barr’s summary of the Mueller report says there was no conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia to affect the outcome of the 2016 election. We dig in.

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Rep. Elijah Cummings, Democratic congressman representing Maryland’s 7th District. Chairman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform. ( @RepCummings)

Paula Reid, CBS News correspondent covering the Justice Department, the White House and legal affairs. ( @PaulaReidCBS)

Andrew Desiderio, congressional reporter for Politico. ( @desiderioDC)

From The Reading List

New Yorker: “ No Conspiracy, No Exoneration: The Conclusions from the Mueller Report” — “‘While this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.’

“Such is the key, complicating sentence in Attorney General William Barr’s four-page summary of the ‘principal conclusions’ of Robert Mueller’s twenty-two-month investigation, which he issued to Congress on Sunday afternoon.

“Barr, who took office as Attorney General last month, writes that Special Counsel Mueller determined that no one associated with the Trump campaign conspired with the Russians in what all the leading intelligence agencies have determined was a concerted effort to manipulate the 2016 elections to hurt Hillary Clinton and help Donald Trump.

“Although the Attorney General used the phrase ‘does not exonerate him’ on the question of obstruction, the President refused any such complication, tweeting, ‘No Collusion, No Obstruction, Complete and Total EXONERATION. KEEP AMERICA GREAT!’ Speaking on the tarmac in Florida, before flying back to Washington, Trump vented his resentment, calling the investigation an ‘illegal takedown that failed.’

“‘After a long investigation, after so many people have been so badly hurt, after not looking at the other side, where a lot of bad things happened, a lot of horrible things happened, a lot of very bad things happened for our country, it was just announced there was no collusion with Russia, the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard,’ he said. ‘There was no collusion with Russia. There was no obstruction, and none whatsoever, and it was a complete and total exoneration. It’s a shame that our country had to go through this. To be honest, it’s a shame that your President has had to go through this, before I even got elected, it began. And it began illegally! And hopefully someone’s going to look at the other side. This was an illegal takedown that failed.’ ”

Politico: “ Pelosi tells Dems she’ll reject highly classified briefing on Mueller findings” — “Speaker Nancy Pelosi told Democrats on Saturday she’ll rebuff any efforts by the Justice Department to reveal details of special counsel Robert Mueller’s findings in a highly classified setting — a tactic she warned could be employed to shield the report’s conclusions from the public.

“Three sources who participated in a conference call among House Democrats said Pelosi (D-Calif.) told lawmakers she worried the Justice Department would seek to disclose Mueller’s conclusions to the so-called Gang of Eight — the top Democrats and Republicans in the House and Senate — which handles the nation’s most sensitive secrets. The substance of Gang of Eight briefings are heavily guarded.

“‘Everyone pounded the transparency drum continuously,’ said a source who was on the Saturday afternoon call.”

Washington Post: “ Republicans and Democrats brace for renewed battles over Mueller report” — “Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III did not find that Donald Trump or his campaign schemed with Russian efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election, according to a summary released Sunday that the president immediately embraced as a ‘complete exoneration’ even though Mueller reached no conclusion about whether the president obstructed justice.

“After a nearly two-year investigation, Mueller’s findings seemed to dispel the cloud of conspiracy that has hung over the administration since its inception. But by delivering caveats alongside conclusions, the closing of the Mueller investigation opens the door to fiercer political fights over the president’s judgment and power.

“The four-page summary issued Sunday by Attorney General William P. Barr declared: ‘The Special Counsel’s investigation did not find that the Trump campaign or anyone associated with it conspired or coordinated with Russia in its efforts to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election.’ ”

Anna Bauman produced this hour for broadcast.

This article was originally published on WBUR.org.

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