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Top US lawyer disagrees with Mueller reasoning

Top US lawyer disagrees with Mueller reasoning
Comments come as US braces for public release of special counsel's lengthy findings

By Michael Hernandez

WASHINGTON (AA) - Attorney General William Barr said Thursday he disagrees with some of Robert Mueller's legal reasoning related to possible obstruction of justice charges against U.S. President Donald Trump.

The Mueller report on Russian interference in the 2016 election caps his two-year probe into the matter, which has led to several guilty pleas from members of Trump's inner circle on matters unrelated to collusion, the conviction of Trump's former campaign chairman on unrelated charges and dozens of indictments.

In a vigorous defense of the president, Barr said Mueller found no evidence any individual in the Trump campaign, nor any American, colluded with the Russian influence campaign, but said Mueller "did not make a traditional prosecutorial judgment regarding" possible obstruction of justice by the president.

Instead, Barr told reporters at the Justice Department that Mueller pointed to 10 "episodes" the president is involved in that pose questions of obstruction, and the report "discusses potential legal theories for connecting these actions to elements of an obstruction offense."

"After carefully reviewing the facts and legal theories outlined in the report, and in consultation with the Office of Legal Counsel and other Department lawyers, the Deputy Attorney General and I concluded that the evidence developed by the Special Counsel is not sufficient to establish that the President committed an obstruction-of-justice offense," Barr said.

While the public is set to receive a redacted copy of Mueller's report later Thursday, Barr said he will make a relatively unredacted copy available to a select group of bipartisan lawmakers.

The public release will be redacted based on four criteria, Barr said, including whether the information was grand jury material, disclosed sensitive intelligence methods, pertained to an ongoing case, or involved "peripheral third parties."

Trump loudly proclaimed victory in a Game of Thrones-inspired image he posted to Twitter, declaring "No obstruction. No collusion. For the haters and the radical left Democrats - Game Over."

source: News Feed
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