politics

Mueller report doesn’t say what GOP says it does
Mueller’s primary mission was to see if he could establish an actionable case, and Barr’s letter said he couldn’t

President Donald Trump returns to the White House on Sunday after spending the weekend in Florida after Attorney General William Barr released his summary of the special counsel investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

ANALYSIS — The way GOP lawmakers reacted to Attorney General William Barr's letter to Congress on Sunday outlining the key findings of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s final Russia investigation report, you would think special counsel prosecutors went out of their way to prove Trump’s innocence on collusion and obstruction allegations.

But statements from Republican leaders in both the House and Senate — and in the White House — do not accurately reflect the direct quotes from Mueller’s report that Barr included in his letter.

Trump spikes football, saying Mueller probe was ‘illegal takedown that failed’
Democrats signal that they don’t think the game is over yet

Supporters of President Donald Trump rally near Trump Tower in New York on Saturday. Grassroots pro-Trump organizations from New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania called on supporters to gather, rally and network among members. (Stephanie Keith/Getty Images)

ANALYSIS — “No collusion. No collusion,” President Donald Trump said before he had even reached a group of reporters last week on the White House’s South Lawn.

That was Wednesday. A few hours later, scuttlebutt began to circulate around Washington that Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III was about to deliver his report on Russia’s 2016 election meddling and possible obstruction of justice by the president. Mueller did so two days later, and Attorney General William Barr summarized the former FBI director’s findings two days after that in a letter to lawmakers.

Barr: Mueller ‘did not establish’ Trump-Russia collusion, but obstruction questions remain
White House says AG’s summary of special counsel report exonerates president

Special counsel Robert Mueller walks with his wife Ann Mueller on March 24, 2019 in Washington, DC. Special counsel Robert Mueller has delivered his report on alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election to Attorney General William Barr. (Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

That assertion is, of course, the opposite of what Mueller wrote in his report, according to Barr’s summary.

“While this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him” from obstruction of justice charges, Mueller wrote.

Mueller probe could spark historic balance of powers debate
Lawmakers, administration set for battle over how much of report to make public

Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III walks after attending church on Sunday in Washington. He turned in his report on the Russia investigation to Attorney General William P. Barr on Friday. (Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

The political spotlight focused brightest on the reticent Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III for nearly two years, his every legal move and court filing scrutinized by a country eager to decipher what the Russia investigation had uncovered about President Donald Trump.

But with Mueller’s work done, the question changes from what Mueller found to how much of it House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., and other lawmakers can make public.

Trump and Netanyahu: Embattled leaders turn to each other for political boost
President, Israeli prime minister meet Monday amid scandals for both

President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu participate in a joint news conference in the East Room of the White House in February 2017. (Alex Wong/Getty Images file photo)

Two embattled leaders will meet Monday at the White House, one hoping the visit will boost him in an election just over the horizon and the other hopeful it will keep his conservative base engaged for an election in 20 months.

President Donald Trump will welcome Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the executive mansion for meetings Monday and a dinner in his honor on Tuesday evening. The longtime Israeli leader faces a Knesset election on April 9 and hopes to showcase to voters at home that his relationship with Trump is too important to oust him from office.

McConnell, Graham leave room for Barr to withhold parts of Mueller report
Other congressional leaders, Trump call on attorney general to release full report to public

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell left it up to the discretion of Attorney General William P. Barr to keep some parts of the Mueller report out of the public eye. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

While Democratic lawmakers and many of their Republican colleagues called on Attorney General William P. Barr to publicly release the full Mueller report, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham left room for Barr to keep parts of it under wraps at the Justice Department.

Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III delivered the final report on his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 elections and possible collusion between Russia and the Donald Trump campaign to Barr on Friday.

Robert Mueller submits Russia report to Justice Department
Report’s delivery sets up showdown over how much public will see of it

Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III on Friday delivered his report on his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible connections between the Russians and the Donald Trump campaign to Attorney General Robert Barr on Friday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III on Friday submitted to the Justice Department the long-awaited final report on his nearly two-year investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible links between Russia and the Trump campaign.

No more indictments are expected in the investigation, a senior DOJ official told reporters. 

Trump reverses Treasury sanctions on North Korea
President says he would go against his own department to rescind sanctions

Traffic passes a large LED screen as it shows a handshake between U.S President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, on the second day of the USA-DPRK summit on February 28, 2019 in Hanoi, Vietnam. (Carl Court/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump announced Friday he would go against the order of his own Treasury Department and remove additional sanctions imposed on North Korea. 

Trump, via Twitter, said he would not add to existing sanctions on the country, aimed at slowing its nuclear ambitions. The Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control announced Thursday it would impose sanctions on two Chinese-based shipping companies that helped North Korea evade sanctions.

GOP Rep. writes 407-word Fox News op-ed defending McCain — doesn’t mention Trump once
Kinzinger’s apparent hesitation to explicitly invoke Trump’s name has been a trend among many GOP lawmakers

Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., has criticized President Donald Trump in the past for some of his words and actions, but he declined to name the president when defending the late Sen. John McCain. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Adam Kinzinger penned a Fox News op-ed Friday defending the late Sen. John McCain as a bipartisan “maverick,” a man who stuck to his convictions in a civil manner and a rare politician who was “first to say he wasn’t always right.”

The Illinois Republican, who counted the longtime Arizona Republican as a friend and mentor, did not explicitly mention the reason McCain’s legacy emerged in the news cycle seven months after his death: President Donald Trump has re-upped his criticism of the longtime lawmaker this week.

Lawmakers from both parties resist humanitarian and refugee aid changes
A White House proposal would not only cut funding but reshape humanitarian assistance, particularly for refugees

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., speaks with reporters as he arrives for the votes in the Senate to keep the government open on Feb. 14, 2019. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democratic and Republican lawmakers say they are determined to block a White House budget proposal that would gut the State Department’s refugee operations and slash overall humanitarian aid levels.

President Donald Trump’s 2020 budget request proposes consolidating three separate humanitarian assistance accounts operated by the State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development. The new umbrella account would be managed by USAID and, in theory, have more flexibility to respond to rapidly evolving global crises.