Mueller Probe: 22 Months, 19 Lawyers, 40 FBI, 2,800 Subpoenas, 500 Search Warrants, 500 Witnesses

By Susan Jones | March 25, 2019 | 8:35am EDT
U.S. Attorney General William Barr leaves his house in McLean, Virginia on March 24, 2019. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

(CNSNews.com) - In his summary to congressional leaders on Sunday, Attorney General William Barr said Special Counsel Robert Mueller and his staff "thoroughly investigated allegations" that members of the Trump presidential campaign and others associated with it "conspired with the Russian government in its efforts to interfere in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, or sought to obstruct the related federal investigations."

The FBI launched the counter-intelligence investigation into the Trump campaign in July 2016; Mueller took it over the following May, after Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed him as special counsel.

According to Barr, in the course of his 22-month probe, Mueller "employed 19 lawyers who were assisted by a team of approximately 40 FBI agents, intelligence forensic accountants, and other professional staff. The Special Counsel issued more than 2,800 subpoenas, executed nearly 500 search warrants, obtained more than 230 orders for communication records, issued almost 50 orders authorizing use of pen registers, made 13 requests to foreign governments for evidence, and interviewed approximately 500 witnesses.

Still unknown: How much did all of that cost us, the taxpayers?

President Trump tweeted in November 2018 that the "Joseph McCarthy style Witch Hunt" had wasted "more than $40,000,000," but the final tally has not been released.

The Office of Special Counsel has posted its direct expenditures through September 30, 2018, as follows:

For the period May 17, 2017 through September 30, 2017: $3,213,695

 For the period October 1, 2017 through March 31, 2018: $4,506,624

For the period April 1, 2018 through September 30, 2018: $4,567,533

That's a total of $9,394,300, by the reckoning of Mueller's office, with 6 months unaccounted for.

Judicial Watch in December sued the U.S. Department of Justice for records of costs incurred by the security detail for Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

As a result of his thorough investigation, Mueller indicted several Trump associates on charges unrelated to Russian collusion or coordination.

But he "did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities," Barr said, quoting from the report.

The second part of Mueller's report involves obstruction of justice, and here Mueller "did not draw a conclusion one way or the other as to whether the examined conduct constituted obstruction."

Following are the relevant paragraphs from Barr’s summary, which have been seized on by Democrats determined to forge ahead with their investigation/s into Trump world.

After making a "thorough factual investigation" into these matters (obstruction), the Special Counsel considered whether to evaluate the conduct under Department standards governing prosecution and declination decisions but ultimately determined not to make a traditional prosecutorial judgment. The Special Counsel therefore did not draw a conclusion one way or the other as to whether the examined conduct constituted obstruction. Instead, for each of the relevant actions investigated, the report sets out evidence on both sides of the question and leaves unresolved what the Special Counsel views as "difficult issues" of law and fact concerning whether the President's actions and intent could be viewed as obstruction.

The Special Counsel states that "while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him."

Barr noted that Mueller left it to Barr himself "to determine whether the conduct described in the report constitutes a crime." And Barr said it does not:

As Barr wrote:

Over the course of the investigation, the Special Counsel's office engaged in discussions with certain Department officials regarding many of the legal and factual matters at issue in the Special Counsel's obstruction investigation. After reviewing the Special Counsel's final report on these issues; consulting with Department officials, including the Office of Legal Counsel; and applying the principles of federal prosecution that guide our charging decisions, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and I have concluded that the evidence developed during the Special Counsel's investigation is not sufficient to establish that the President committed an obstruction-of-justice offense. Our determination was made Without regard to, and is not based on, the constitutional considerations that surround the indictment and criminal prosecution of a sitting president.

In making this determination, we noted that the Special Counsel recognized that "the evidence does not establish that the President was involved in an underlying crime related to Russian election interference," and that, while not determinative, the absence of such evidence bears upon the President's intent with respect to obstruction.

Generally speaking, to obtain and sustain an obstruction conviction, the government would need to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a person, acting with corrupt intent, engaged in obstructive conduct with a sufficient nexus to a pending or contemplated proceeding. In cataloguing the President's actions, many of which took place in public view, the report identifies no actions that, in our judgment, constitute obstructive conduct, had a nexus to a pending or contemplated proceeding, and were done with corrupt intent, each of which, under the Department's principles of federal prosecution guiding charging decisions, would need to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt to establish an obstruction-of-justice offense.

Barr concluded his summary by saying he understands the public interest in the investigation: "For that reason, my goal and intent is to release as much of the Special Counsel's report as I can consistent with applicable law, regulations, and Departmental policies."

He noted that some material in the report, including grand jury matters and information that may bear on other pending legal cases, may not be disclosed by law.

But Barr promised to "move forward expeditiously in determining what can be released in light of applicable law."

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