Barr Says No Obstruction: A 'Frustrated and Angered' Trump 'Faced an Unprecedented Situation'

Susan Jones | April 18, 2019 | 10:31am EDT
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(Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

( - Attorney General William Barr told a news conference on Thursday that Special Counsel Robert Mueller considered obstruction of justice involving President Trump, "recounting ten episodes involving the president and...potential legal theories for connecting those activities to the elements of an obstruction offense."

But after "carefully reviewing the facts and legal theories" and after consulting with other legal counsel, Barr said he and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein "concluded that the evidence developed by the special counsel is not sufficient to establish that the president committed an obstruction of justice offense."

Barr also took Trump's mindset into account, saying the president’s anger and frustration weighed “heavily” against an obstruction case:

In assessing the president's actions discussed in the report, it is important to bear in mind the context.

President Trump faced an unprecedented situation. As he entered into office and sought to perform his responsibilities as president, federal agents and prosecutors were scrutinizing his conduct before and after taking office and the conduct of some of his associates.

At the same time, there was relentless speculation in the news media about the president's personal culpability. Yet as he said from the beginning, there was, in fact, no collusion. And as the special counsel's report acknowledges, there is substantial evidence to show that the president was frustrated and angered by his sincere belief that the investigation was undermining his presidency, propelled by his political opponents, and fueled by illegal leaks.

Nonetheless, the White House fully cooperated with the special counsel's investigation, providing unfettered access to campaign and White House documents, directing senior aides to testify freely, and asserting no privilege claims.

And at the same time, the president took no act that, in fact, deprived the Special Counsel of the documents and witnesses necessary to complete his investigation. Apart from whether the acts were obstructive, this evidence of non-corrupt motives weighs heavily against any allegation that the president had a corrupt intent to obstruct the investigation.

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