President Donald Trump has two talking points about the Mueller report: “No collusion” and “No obstruction.” Only the first is based in reality. Mueller’s report “does not exonerate” Trump on the “difficult issues” surrounding whether the president obstructed justice, according to passages of the report quoted in Attorney General William Barr’s memo to Congress.
Fox News anchor Chris Wallace pressed White House adviser Kellyanne Conway on Sunday about the lies Trump continues to tell about the conclusions of the Mueller report. Wallace played a clip of Trump telling supporters at a rally on Thursday that Mueller found “no obstruction” and that the report was “total exoneration, complete vindication.”
“Why is the president telling Americans something that is not true?” Wallace asked.
“The Barr memo talks about no obstructive conduct,” Conway replied.
In fact, Barr’s memo states that Mueller found evidence on “both sides of the [obstruction] question,” though the decision whether to prosecute the president on an obstruction charge was ultimately left up to Barr and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. Barr, who was appointed after writing a memo to senior Justice Department officials that said the obstruction investigation was “fatally misconceived,” announced a week ago that he and Rosenstein had concluded that the president did not obstruct justice. Still, according to Barr’s summary of Mueller’s findings, “The Special Counsel states that ‘while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.'”
After Wallace reminded her of precisely this, Conway simply responded, “Well, it said many things. Most importantly, it said this president and his campaign did not commit a crime.”
Mueller’s report is nearly 400 pages long and has not yet been released in full to Congress or the public. Barr said on Friday that a redacted version will be sent to Congress “by mid-April, if not sooner.”
Trump stuck with his version of events on Twitter on Sunday afternoon, writing, “Everybody is asking how the phony and fraudulent investigation of the No Collusion, No Obstruction Trump Campaign began.”
Watch the full interview with Conway here: