Minutes after Attorney General William Barr delivered an across-the-board vindication of his claims of “no collusion” with Russia and “no obstruction” of justice, President Donald Trump declared victory in one of his favorite ways: using imagery of himself in the style of “Game of Thrones.”
Trump’s personal Twitter account posted an image of the president standing amid fog and the words “GAME OVER” prominently displayed.
The image also repeated a common Trump mantra since taking office — “No collusion, No obstruction” — and took a shot at congressional Democrats, saying his two-word declaration of victory is for “the haters and the radical left Democrats.”
Trump has gone to this well before, posting an image of himself amid fog with “Game of Thrones” font on Nov. 2, 2018, that “Sanctions are coming.”
And then amid the government shutdown on Jan. 5, Trump posted more “Game of Thrones” imagery of himself with the words “The Wall is Coming.” Trump’s insistence on more funding for a southern border wall and Congress’ unwillingness to do so precipitated the shutdown.
Though special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s coming report is expected to describe misconduct by the president and his associates, Barr delivered a glowing verbal summary of the document and Mueller’s findings.
“The special counsel’s report did not find any evidence that members of the Trump campaign, and anyone associated with the campaign, conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in these hacking operations,” Barr said Thursday during a press conference at the Justice Department. “In other words, there was no evidence of the Trump campaign collusion with the Russian government's hacking.”
Watch: Barr on Mueller report ahead of release — ‘No collusion’
“After nearly two years of investigation, thousands of subpoenas, hundreds of warrants and witness interviews, the special counsel confirmed that the Russian government sponsored efforts to illegally interfere with the 2016 presidential election, but did not find that the Trump campaign or other Americans colluded in those efforts,” Barr said, telling reporters Mueller and his team found “no underlying collusion with Russia.”
The attorney general, a believer that the office of the presidency has broad authorities, also described how he decided that Trump did not obstruct justice via moves such as his firing of former FBI Director James B. Comey and his later admission that the Russia probe was on his mind when he did.
“After carefully reviewing the facts and legal theories outlined in the report, and in consultation with the [DOJ] Office of Legal Counsel, and other department lawyers, the deputy attorney general [Rod Rosenstein] and I concluded that the evidence developed by the special counsel is not sufficient to establish that the president committed and obstruction of justice offense,” Barr said.
“Though the deputy attorney general and I disagreed with some of the special counsel’s legal theories, [we] felt that some of the episodes examined did not amount to obstruction as a matter of law,” Barr said.
A senior White House official on Wednesday, less than 24 hours ahead of the report’s release, said West Wing aides were confident that Barr’s summary of the Mueller probe showing no criminal conspiracy with Russia or criminal-level obstruction was well-established.
The White House has long said no officials had seen the full report or the version due out later Thursday, but Barr revealed the White House counsel’s office was allowed to review the redacted report.
That was “consistent with long-standing practice” that would allow a sitting president to claim executive privilege to withhold certain information, Barr said, adding that the White House did not invoke that authority over a single word.