President Trump went on Twitter Monday as his surrogates prepared to fan out on television a day after a summary released from special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s report cleared Trump of coordinating with Russia during the 2016 presidential election.
While Trump and his allies claimed he been exonerated by the two-year investigation, Democrats pushed for full disclosure of the report and what led to conclusions contained in the four-page summary released Sunday by Attorney General William P. Barr. The summary said Mueller had reached no definitive answer on whether the president had attempted to obstruct justice.
Russian officials, meanwhile, continued to insist their country had not interfered in the election despite findings by Mueller to the contrary.
8:15 a.m.: Democrats continue calls to release full report
Democrats continued to make the case in interviews and on social media Monday that Barr needs to release the full Muller report.
“The Special Counsel’s investigation produced dozens of indictments + evidence POTUS may have engaged in obstruction of justice,” Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) said in one such tweet. “This summary is insufficient. The American ppl must be given the chance to read the complete #MuellerReport as soon as possible. #ReleaseTheFullReport”
7:35 a.m.: Sarah Sanders says Democrats, media owe Trump an apology
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said Monday that “Democrats and the liberal media” owe Trump an apology.
Appearing on NBC’s “Today” show, Sanders was asked if Trump owed Mueller an apology for months of attacks on his investigation. Sanders turned the question on its head.
“The media and Democrats have called the president an agent of foreign governments,” Sanders said. “That is an accusation equal to treason, which is punishable by death in this country. … They wasted two years and created a massive disruption and distraction from things that impact everyone’s day-to-day life.”
During the interview, Sanders also said Trump “has no problem” with Mueller’s underlying report being released but would leave that decision to Barr.
“He’s more than happy for any of this stuff to come out because he knows exactly what did and what didn’t happen and now frankly the rest of America knows,” Sanders said.
7:30 a.m.: Russian embassy in U.K. weighs in
The Russian embassy in the United Kingdom is trolling those who contended Trump’s campaign had conspired with Russia in the 2016 president election.
A tweet sent from the embassy’s account showed a newspaper headline on Mueller’s report and this rejoinder: “That awkward moment when another anti-Russian fake crumbles to dust. Excuses, anyone?”
7:25 a.m.: Democrats express frustration on Barr’s obstruction conclusion
Underscoring a frustration expressed by many Democrats, Rep. David N. Cicilline (D-R.I.) said Monday that he thinks it was “completely inappropriate” for Barr to have concluded Trump did not obstruct justice.
“This is the attorney general of the United States, in my view, attempting to shape the narrative on the obstruction of justice claim,” Cicilline, a member of the Judiciary Committee, said on CNN.
In his report, Mueller did not draw a conclusion on obstruction of justice but rather laid out evidence for Justice Department officials to review, writing that “while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.”
In his summary, Barr says that Justice officials determined there was insufficient evidence to make an obstruction accusation against the president.
Cicilline said Mueller spent 22 months looking at the issue.
“He doesn’t make a conclusion, but he goes out of his way to say the president is not exonerated in this regard, and Mr. Barr in 48 hours turns that around and say, ‘Oh no, I’ve looked it. He’s exonerated. He hasn’t committed that offense.’ … I think it’s completely inappropriate.”
7:10 a.m.: Sekulow: ‘Very inappropriate’ to release Trump’s written responses
Jay Sekulow, one of Trump’s personal lawyers, said it would be “very inappropriate” for the president’s team to release written answers that Trump submitted to Mueller’s lawyers.
Sekulow was pressed about the prospect during one of multiple television appearances Monday morning. Democrats are pushing for full disclosure of Mueller’s report and underlying sources that contributed to his conclusions.
“As a lawyer, you don’t waive privileges,” Sekulow said on CNN. “I think that would be very inappropriate.”
He said the decision would ultimately be up to Barr.
7 a.m.: Giuliani: The investigation unfolded ‘as if this were a terrorism case’
Rudolph W. Giuliani, one of the president’s personal attorneys, on Monday continued to attack lawyers on Mueller’s team, claiming some of them are “very, very rabid partisans.”
“They conducted an investigation as if this were a terrorism case,” Giuliani said during an extended appearance on Fox News’s “Fox & Friends,” where he said at other points the probe was being conducted like an “organized crime case.”
“It was thorough and was conducted by people who had a bias to get him,” Giuliani said, adding that the president was “absolved, vindicated, exonerated — you pick the word.”
Over the past year, both Trump and his allies frequently attacked Mueller, a Republican, and lawyers on his team in an effort to discredit any negative findings.
6:30 a.m.: Russian officials claim vindication from Mueller’s findings
In Russia, officials claimed their own kind of vindication — even as they continued to deny that there was any truth to any allegation of Russian interference in the 2016 election.
On his daily conference call with journalists, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov referred to “a Chinese philosopher who said, ‘It is hard to find a black cat in a dark room, especially if it is not there.’ ”
“Centuries have passed, but unfortunately there has been no understanding of this on the other side of the ocean,” Peskov said.
Lawmaker Alexey Pushkov, a foreign-affairs specialist in the upper house of parliament, described Mueller’s findings as exonerating Trump in the face of a “virtual conspiracy” of American news media and Democrats that was aimed at demonizing Russia.
6:10 a.m.: Trump starts his Monday with tweets about the Mueller probe
Trump took to Twitter early on Monday with a string of tweets about the Mueller probe.
In his first tweet of the day, Trump quoted Fox News anchor Bret Baier: “No matter your ideologies or your loyalties, this is a good day for America. No American conspired to cooperate with Russia in its efforts to interfere with the 2016 election, according to Robert Mueller, and that is good.”
Trump continued to cite other news reports on the summary released by Barr, including this MSNBC headline: “Breaking News: Mueller Report Finds No Trump-Russia Conspiracy.”
He later retweeted some of his tweets from Sunday, including one in which he claimed “total EXONERATION” even though Mueller reached no conclusion about whether the president obstructed justice.
6 a.m.: Giuliani says Democrats must atone for ‘false claims of collusion’
Democrats must make amends for “false claims of collusion” before the country can “heal” from Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, Giuliani, said in tweets sent early Monday. Giuliani specifically demanded apologies from Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.), the House Intelligence Committee chairman; former CIA director John Brennan, and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.).
“In light of the Mueller conclusion of no collusion between Trump campaign and Russians, are @AdamSchiff, Brennan, Nadler and other Dems going to apologize for their now false claims of collusion. If they care about our country, they should be relieved they were wrong. Are they?” Giuliani tweeted after midnight.
Giuliani then suggested that mea culpas from Democrats and members of the press should follow Mueller’s findings that neither the president nor his campaign conspired to help Russia sway the 2016 presidential election.
“TURNING POINT for our country,” Giuliani tweeted. “If Democrats who went too far in their partisan and false claims of collusion can step back and admit their mistakes, we can heal. If CNN, NBC, MSNBC, et al can realize their overreactions, then we have hope for fairer treatment in the future.”
Tim Elfrink in Washington and Anton Troianovski in Moscow contributed to this report.