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Trump responds to Mueller report: 'No collusion, no obstruction'

Key Points
  • President Donald Trump said he was having "a good day" in response to the release of the highly anticipated report from special counsel Robert Mueller on Russian interference in the 2016 election.
  • "No collusion, no obstruction," Trump said. "There never was, by the way, and there never will be."
  • The report found that the Trump campaign did not agree to cooperate with the Russian government's hacking efforts. It also examined 10 separate episodes that raised questions about potential obstruction of justice by the president. 
President Donald Trump speaks at an event honoring the Wounded Warrior Project Soldier Ride in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC on April 18, 2019.
Mandel Ngan | AFP | Getty Images

WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump on Thursday responded to the release of the highly anticipated report from special counsel Robert Mueller on Russian interference in the 2016 election.

"They're having a good day, and I'm having a good day too," Trump told a group of veterans at the White House.

"No collusion, no obstruction," Trump continued. "There never was, by the way, and there never will be. And we do have to get to the bottom of these things. This should never happen ... to another president again. This hoax. It should never happen to another president again."

After Attorney General William Barr held a news conference explaining takeaways from the Mueller report, Trump tweeted a "Game of Thrones"-inspired image which read "Game Over."

Earlier Thursday morning, before Barr's remarks, Trump went on a Twitter tirade against the special counsel's probe.

The partially redacted report marks the end of a more than two-year-long federal investigation into Russian state-backed interference in the 2016 presidential election.

It also focused on two questions directly related to the president. The first was whether Trump or anyone close to his 2016 presidential campaign coordinated with Russian state-backed hackers to steal and release information intended to damage Democrat Hillary Clinton.

After reading the finished report last month, Barr wrote to Congress that Mueller and his team of investigators "did not find that the Trump campaign or anyone associated with it conspired or coordinated with Russia."

The second question directly related to Trump and addressed in the report concerned whether the president's well-documented efforts to undermine the investigation into his campaign amounted to criminal obstruction of justice.

On this question, according to Barr, the special counsel found evidence "on both sides of the question." And Mueller specifically states in the report that while the investigation "does not conclude that the president committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him."

Instead, Mueller left it up to the attorney general to decide whether, based on the evidence, the president had criminally obstructed justice.

As Barr wrote in his March 24 letter to Congress, after reviewing the evidence Mueller laid out, he and his top deputy at the Justice Department "concluded that the evidence ... is not sufficient to establish that" Trump committed a crime.

Trump quickly seized on Barr's summary to claim that the Mueller report amounted to "complete and total exoneration" of himself and his entire campaign on every aspect of the special counsel's probe. Trump's response so far, however, has pointedly ignored the fact that Mueller specifically wrote that his findings did not exonerate the president.

But not everyone in Trump's inner circle has been as blithely optimistic about what the report would show. The president's personal legal team spent weeks preparing a counter-report in anticipation of findings that would be damaging to Trump and to the White House.