What do we know about the Mueller report?
After a nearly two year investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 US Presidential election, Robert Mueller has finally delivered his final report on his potentially political consequential findings. So far he has only delivered the report to Department of Justice, and all we know about it has come from a four page letter by Attorney General William Barr - appointed by President Donald Trump himself - summarising the key findings.
The results of the investigation are absolutely vital in the politics of the 2020 Presidential election, and to the survival of President Trump with impeachment being regularly hung over him by the opposition Democratic Party if anything incriminating or treasonous were revealed in the report. So, for those who only take a passing interest in US politics, or those living in critical US allies - such as the UK, for whom what happens in the US can be vitally important for trade and the economy - what was the report all about and what do we know about what’s in it?
What is the Mueller Report?
Let’s start by going back to basics. In 2016, billionaire businessman and real estate mogul Donald Trump went up against former Secretary of State, Senator, and First Lady Hillary Clinton for the US Presidency after the incumbent, Barack Obama, reached his two term limit. Despite being widely disliked and ridiculed, a series of controversial and offensive statements, and lacking any qualifications for elected office, Trump lost the popular vote but won a majority in America’s electoral college and became President.
There we a lot of concerns among intelligence agencies during the Presidential campaign about Russian meddling in the election, with reports showing Russian agents working with WikiLeaks to release damaging information about Hillary Clinton to help Donald Trump win. Trump had long been seen as friendly towards Russia and its strongman President Vladimir Putin. Trump was extremely keen to dismiss the idea that Russia had helped him win.
Suspicion escalated after an investigation into Trump’s National Security Advisor Michael Flynn began in early 2017 over claims he had lied to the FBI over conversations with the Russian ambassador during the campaign. This led to Trump reportedly putting pressure on FBI director James Comey to end the investigation, and later resulted in Comey’s firing by Trump. This prompted fears of obstruction of justice and led to the appointment of special counsel Robert Mueller to investigate the Trump campaign for potential collusion with Russia and Trump for obstructing justice.
What does the report say?
The full report might never be made public, and key politicians from congress’ judiciary committees are yet to see a copy, so all we have to go on so far is a letter by Attorney General Barr. In this summary, Barr states that no evidence was found of collusion between the Russian Government and Donald Trump to influence the outcome of the election, and states that the report made no conclusions on obstruction of justice charges, but did not exonerate Trump, finding evidence both for and against this allegation.