Fox News correspondent Gillian Turner misleadingly described the conclusions in Attorney General William Barr’s letter about the Mueller investigation - in a way that just happened to comport with Donald Trump’s claim of complete vindication. In fact, Barr’s letter did not definitively exonerate Trump at all.
Although Barr noted in his letter that special counsel Robert Mueller’s report did not conclude that Trump obstructed justice, it also “does not exonerate him.”
Barr was murkier with the question of “collusion.” His letter provided a quote from the Mueller report suggesting a finding of no conspiracy or coordination: “[T]he investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.”
"When prosecutors say that an investigation 'did not establish' something, that doesn’t mean that they concluded it didn’t happen, or even that they don’t believe it happened. It means that the investigation didn’t produce enough information to prove that it happened. Without seeing Mueller’s full report, we don’t know whether this is a firm conclusion about lack of coordination or a frank admission of insufficient evidence."
“The difference is meaningful,” White noted.
But not the way Turner presented it. Turner is not a Trump lickspittle (he has attacked her on Twitter for it) but someone who has always struck me as one of the more thoughtful and independent-minded, albeit conservative, Fox Newsers so her report surprised me.
TURNER: Attorney General Bill Barr answering the million dollar question that’s plagued the Trump administration and the nation for two years now: Was there collusion?
His answer today direct and unequivocal. Barr finds the special counsel’s investigation did not find the Trump campaign or anyone with it conspired or coordinated with Russia in its efforts to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
Next up on Barr’s docket: the question of whether the president obstructed justice. His answer again unambiguous. He writes, “Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and I have concluded the evidence developed during the Special Counsel’s investigation is not sufficient to establish that the President committed an obstruction of justice offense.”
Bob Mueller, though wasn’t nearly as direct in his findings. The attorney general writing, “The Special Counsel states that while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.”
Fact: Barr’s letter on both collusion and obstruction of justice was ambiguous and equivocal. Turner should know better.
Watch Turner give false credence to Trump’s Twitter claim, “No Collusion, No Obstruction, Complete and Total EXONERATION,” below, from her March 24, 2019 report.
I have my doubts Barr will be able to keep the full report under wraps for long and it’s doubtful within its ~500 pages there isn’t much to embarrass Scumbag-in-Chief.