President Donald Trump didn't wait long to try and leverage release of the Mueller report to raise money for his re-election campaign, including by again branding media outlets as fake news.
"The summary of the Mueller Report said there was NO COLLUSION, but you already knew that. So Democrats and the Fake News claimed the full report would tell a different story….Sorry haters: NO COLLUSION & EXONERATION AGAIN!," the President said in an e-mail ot those supporters. "How many times do I have to be exonerated before they stop? WHAT A JOKE!"
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The report did not exonerate the President of obstruction of justice.
The report found insufficient evidence to prove collusion, but made it clear that there was sufficient evidence to prevent the special counsel from exonerating the President of obstruction, leaving it to others to decide whether that evidence constituted obstruction given that under current Justice Department guidelines--the special counsel reports to the Attorney General--a sitting President could not be indicted. The concern was that such a charge hanging over the President but not resolved could impede his ability to do his job.
Instead, it left that obstruction decision to others. Attorney General Bill Barr and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein concluded that evidence did not constitute obstruction, though the report suggested Congress could make that call.
The Congress could indeed pursue its own impeachment-related obstruction investigation though House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (R-Calif.) has suggested she didn't want to go there. House Democrats are already planning to interview Barr about his conclusions and Pelosi tweeted Thursday (April 18) that Mueller needs grilling as well:
Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said that Barr had been "disingenuous and misleading" in saying the President was cleared of wrongdoing. He said that even in its incomplete form, the Mueller report provides evidence that the President engaged in obstruction of Justice.
He said he had requested Mueller to appear before his committee, saying it was clear Barr could not be trusted.
The President tried to get ahead of that Democratic effort and cast it in the same "conspiracy" light, adding in his fund-raising letter: "Sadly, this is just the beginning, Friend. The attacks and lies will keep coming because Democrats know they don’t stand a chance in 2020."
The President said that if the campaign could collect $1 million over the next 24 hours, it would "send a powerful message to the entire nation that this WITCH HUNT must end."
Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.
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