Dear President Graham, President Nadler, Member of the Rankings Feinstein and Leader Collins:
As a supplement to the notification given on Friday, March 22, 2019, I am writing today to advise you on the essentials Conclusions Special Adviser Robert S. Mueller and inform you of the status of my initial review of the report he has prepared.
On Friday, the Special Adviser submitted to me a "confidential report explaining the prosecution or declination decisions" he has reached, as required by 28 C.F.R. § 600.8 (c). This report is entitled "Report on the study of Russian interference in 2016 presidential elections." Although my review is about to go on, I believe it is in the public interest to describe the report and summarize the main conclusions the Special Adviser has achieved and the results of his inquiry.
The report explains that Special Counsel and his staff thoroughly investigated claims that members of the Presidential campaign by Donald J. Trump and others associated with it conspired with the Russian Government in its efforts to interfere in 201
The special lawyer obtained a number of charges and judgments of persons and entities in connection with his investigation, all of which have been published. During his investigation, the Special Adviser also referred several relationships to other offices for further action. The report does not recommend any further accusations, nor has the special lawyer been given sealed accusations which are not yet to be published. Below, I summarize the most important conclusions in the Special Council's report.
Russian interference in US presidential elections in 2016 The Special Council report is divided into two parts. The first describes the results of the Special Counsel's study of Russia's involvement in US presidential elections in 2016. The report outlines Russian efforts to influence the election and documents crimes committed by persons associated with the Russian Government in connection with these efforts. The report further explains that a primary consideration for the Special Counsel's investigation was whether any Americans, including those associated with the Trump campaign, joined the Russian compositions to influence the election, which would be a crime. The Special Council's investigation did not find out that the Trump campaign or that associated with it conspired or co-ordinated with Russia in its efforts to influence the US presidential election in 2016. As stated in the report, "[T] he did not investigate that members of the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in their election interference activities. "
The Special Council's study stated that there were two main Russian efforts to influence the 2016 election. The first attempted attempt by a Russian organization, the Internet Research Agency (IRA), to perform disinformation and social media operations in the United States, designed to seep social misunderstanding, ultimately for the purpose of disrupting the election. As mentioned above, the Special Adviser did not find that any American person or Trump campaign officer or association interacted or deliberately coordinated with the IRA in its efforts, even though Special Counsel brought criminal charges against a number of Russian nationals and entities in connection with these activities.
The second element involved the Russian Government's efforts to implement computer hacking operations designed to gather and disseminate information to influence the election. The Special Adviser found that Russian government actors successfully hacked into computers and received emails from people affiliated with the Clinton campaign and Democratic Party organizations, and publicly disseminated these materials through various intermediaries, including WikiLeaks. Based on these activities, the special lawyer brought criminal charges against a number of Russian military officers to conspire to hack into computers in the United States for the purpose of influencing the elections. However, as mentioned above, the Special Advisor did not find that the Trump campaign or anyone affiliated with it conspired or coordinated with the Russian Government in these efforts despite several offers from Russian affiliated individuals to help the Trump campaign.
Obstruction of justice. The second part of the report deals with a number of acts of the president, most of which have been the subject of public reporting, which Special Counsel examined as potentially raising obstruction of justice problems. After conducting a "thorough factual investigation" in these cases, the Special Adviser assessed whether he should evaluate the Code of Conduct under departmental standards on prosecution and refusal decisions, but ultimately decided not to make a traditional judgment. The special adviser therefore did not conclude on one side or the other as to whether the investigated behavior constituted obstruction. Instead of each of the relevant studies being investigated, the report is presented on both sides of the question and leaves unresolved what Special Counsel considers "difficult issues" of law and fact as to whether the president's actions and intentions can be considered obstruction. The Special Adviser states that "while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it does not release him either."
The Special Council's decision to describe facts in its obstruction study without reaching any legal conclusions leaves the Attorney General to determine whether the behavior described in the report constitutes a crime. In the course of the investigation, the Special Council's office has initiated discussions with certain branch officials regarding many of the legal and factual issues in the Special Counsel's obstruction. After reviewing the Special Council's final report on these issues; consulting with officials in the department, including the office's legal advisor and applying the principles of federal prosecution, which governs our tax decisions, Vice-lawyer Rod Rosenstein and I concluded that the evidence developed during the Special Counsel's investigation is not sufficient to establish that the president committed an offense. Our determination was made without regard to and is not based on the constitutional considerations surrounding the prosecution's prosecution and criminal prosecution.
In this provision, we noted that the Special Adviser acknowledged that "the evidence does not state that the President was involved in an underlying crime in connection with Russian election interference", and that, while not essential, the lack of such evidence is dependent on the president's intention with regard to obstruction. Generally, in order to obtain and maintain an obstructive belief, the government must prove beyond reasonable doubt that a person acting for a corrupt purpose engages in obstructive behavior with sufficient coherence in a pending or envisaged procedure. In the cataloging of the President's actions, many of which took place in the public eye, the report does not describe any actions which, in our opinion, constitute obstructive behavior, have a coherence in a pending or envisaged procedure, and were made with a corrupt intention, each of which is, In accordance with the Foundation's principles of federal prosecution with tax-ruling guidance, it must be proved beyond reasonable doubt to establish an offense.
Status of the department review
The relevant rules consider that the Special Counsel's report will be a "confidential report" to the Registrar. See the Office of Special Counsel, 64 Fed. Reg. 37,038, 37,040-41 (July 9, 1999). However, as I have said before, I am aware of the public interest in this matter. For this reason, my goal and intention is to release as much of the Special Counsel's report as I can be in compliance with applicable law, rules, and departmental policies.
Based on my discussions with Special Counsel and my first review, it appears that the report contains material that may or may not be subject to the federal government's criminal proceedings imposing restrictions on the use and disclosure of information on "the case [s] that occurs before the grand jury. " Fat. R. Crim. Para. 6 (e) (2) (B) Rule 6 (e) generally limits the disclosure of certain grand jury information in criminal investigation and prosecution. Id. Disclosure of 6 (e) material beyond the strict limits laid down in the rule is a crime in certain circumstances. See e.g. 18 U.S.C. 401 (3). This restriction protects the integrity of the large jurisdiction procedure and ensures that the unique and invaluable investigative powers of the unique juries are used exclusively for their intended criminal function.
Based on these limitations, the timing of the report depends in part on how the Department can quickly identify the 6 (e) material that is not lawfully disclosed. I have requested the help of the specialist advisor to identify all 6 information in the report as soon as possible. Separately, I also need to identify any information that may affect other ongoing issues, including those that Special Counsel has referred to other offices. As soon as this process is complete, I will be able to quickly move on to determining what can be released in the light of applicable law, rules and departmental policies.
* * *
As I observed in my first warning, the Special Administrative Provisions stipulate that "the Advocate General may decide that public disclosure of" notices to your respective committees "would be in the public interest." 28 C.F.R. § 600.9 (c). I have decided that, and I will pass this letter on to the public after delivering it to you.
William P. Barr