WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump claimed vindication from a summary made public Sunday of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
“It was a complete and total exoneration,” the president said as he boarded Air Force One in Palm Beach, Florida, en route to Washington.
“It’s a shame that our country had to go through this,” Trump said. “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.”
Trump referred to the investigation as an “illegal takedown that failed.”
He posted on Twitter that there was “No Collusion, No Obstruction, Complete and Total EXONERATION.”
Mueller’s investigation did not find evidence that Trump or members of his campaign conspired with Russia’s efforts to sway the 2016 election, but it left unresolved whether Trump’s actions and intent could be viewed as obstruction of justice, Attorney General William Barr said in a letter to Congress.
“While this report does not conclude that the president committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him” on whether he obstructed justice, Mueller said in the report, according to Barr’s four-page summary.
Mueller’s report opened the door to a politically fraught examination by Congress over whether Trump attempted to obstruct justice.
Trump’s campaign issued a statement accusing Democrats of being “distraught and blindsided” by the 2016 election.
Rudy Giuliani, one of Trump’s attorneys, described Mueller’s findings as “better than I expected.”
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Mueller completed his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election Friday, delivering a report to Barr that signals the end of the long-running inquiry that loomed over Trump’s presidency.
The president spent the weekend at his Florida resort, Mar-a-Lago. He relaxed Saturday by golfing with Kid Rock. Sunday, he golfed again – this time with Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.; former Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C.; and White House acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney.
Trump stayed off his favorite communication medium, Twitter, for most of the weekend. In an unusually lengthy silence, he did not post any tweets for nearly 40 hours.
He broke his silence Sunday, shortly after 8 a.m., with a series of benign tweets.
“Good morning,” he wrote. “Have A Great Day!”
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