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Former Washington Journalist
Contributor on The Bipartisan Press
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Donald Trump, his family and those at the White House have been expressing relief and happiness over the Friday evening release of Robert Mueller’s final report.
Yet for all the happiness in Trump world that he and his family feel vindicated for the lack of further indictments, the as-yet publicly unseen report could yet pose political–if not criminal–woes for Trump.
That’s according to prominent Washington journalists who have been following the story since Mueller’s investigation began two years ago in the wake of Trump’s controversial firing of FBI Director James Comey.
Mueller and his team’s core mission was to probe whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia during the 2016 campaign to tilt the election to Trump– as well as any subsequent obstruction of justice.
The announcement Friday evening that Mueller handed in a final report to Attorney General William “Bill” Barr signalled the end to that effort.
Trump and the White House team “are responding to this news there are no new indictments in this Mueller report with a fair amount of glee,” CNN correspondent Jim Acosta reported Friday. “I talked to a Trump campaign advisor earlier this evening who said this was a great day for America and we won. That’s how they feel right now.”
Yet Acosta and others warned Trump not to get overconfident yet about the outcome. Although the Mueller report is not public, congressional Democrats and others are calling loudly for its full and complete public release.
‘There could be information in there that may well be negative information for the president,” Acosta added. “So they’re going to have to deal with the fall out of that. But at this point it’s not exactly clear what the steps are.”
Whatever the ultimate outcome of the Mueller report, Trump and his associates face a number of other federal and state criminal investigations on several fronts.
Meanwhile, referring to Trump’s oft-used slur against the Mueller probe as a “witch hunt,” NBC national security correspondent Ken Dilanian noted that Mueller “caught a lot of witches.”
In all, seven people pleaded guilty or were found guilty of crimes, while 27 individuals and three Russian firms were indicted as a result of the Mueller probe.
“It’s a remarkable record. It is much more than we could have anticipated at the beginning of this investigation,” Dilanian said. “Not only the vast expanse of charges against Russians and laying out in speaking indictments how the Russians attacked our electoral system, but indictments of people very close to the president. The campaign chairman, his personal lawyer. So in that respect, it has been a very significant investigation that will go down in history.
“At the same time, many people will be surprised that no one — no member of the Trump campaign, no one around Donald Trump has been charged with conspiring with that Russian election interference effort,” he allowed. “We have to wait to see what the report says about all of these suspicious contacts with the Russians, about whether Donald Trump was warned by the FBI, as we’ve reported, and what he did with those warnings, how he behaved and how Robert Mueller evaluates that behavior. That’s, I think, the missing piece here that we’re just going to have to wait to see what the report says.”