President Donald Trump slammed the two-year probe into his links with Russia as “an illegal takedown that failed” on Sunday and said he had been completely cleared by the results.
“It’s a shame our country had to go through this. To be honest, it’s a shame that your president has had to go through this,” he told reporters in Florida before boarding his plane to return to the White House. Moments earlier, he tweeted: “No Collusion, No Obstruction, Complete and Total EXONERATION.”
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.
Trump called the investigation “the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard” and appeared to float the idea of a new probe into why he had been investigated at all. “Hopefully somebody’s going to be looking at the other side,” he said.
Former FBI director Robert Mueller headed the effort to check suspicions that Trump and his 2016 election campaign had colluded with Russian agents. However, Mueller found no evidence of such links, according to a brief summary of the still-confidential report provided 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 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 matter 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.
Trump’s campaign manager for his 2020 reelection bid, Brad Parscale, said: “President Trump has been completely and fully vindicated… exposing the Russia collusion conspiracy theory for the sham that it always was and catching Democrats in an elaborate web of lies and deceit.”
© Agence France-Presse