In its first reaction to details released from the politically explosive probe into US President Donald Trump’s Russia links, the White House said Sunday that he had been completely cleared.
“The special counsel did not find any collusion and did not find any obstruction,” press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement.
“The findings of the Department of Justice are a total and complete exoneration of the president of the United States.”
The two-year investigation headed by former FBI director Robert Mueller found that Trump and his 2016 election campaign did not collude with Russian agents, according to a brief summary of the still confidential report released by Attorney General William Barr.
The summary also stated that Mueller did not conclude that Trump had tried to obstruct justice by hampering the probe.
However, it also quoted Mueller as stating clearly that despite not finding evidence to prove a crime by Trump, the investigation “does not exonerate him.”
That twist immediately fueled demands by opposition Democrats to dig deeper into Trump’s actions regarding the Russia probe and for the immediate release of the full Mueller report. A decision on that will be taken by Barr, who was appointed by Trump.
But the early White House reaction indicated that Trump will feel completely vindicated in his multiple claims over the last two years that he has been the innocent victim of a “witch hunt” and that there was never any collusion.