What the Mueller report says and what it does not

US Attorney General Bill Barr released a summary on Sunday of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's long-awaited report into allegations that Donald Trump's campaign colluded with Russia in the 2016 presidential election.

Collusion

Mueller found that there was conclusive evidence that Russia did interfere in the election, both through a coordinated campaign of disinformation and by hacking emails from Hillary Clinton's election team. 

In a letter to lawmakers, US Attorney General Bill Barr said that Mueller found that there had been 'multiple offers from Russian-affiliated individuals to assist the Trump campaign.'

But quoting directly from Mueller's report, Barr said that the special counsel's investigation 'did not establish that members of the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.'

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Trump's reaction

President Donald Trump slammed the two-year probe into his links with Russia as 'an illegal takedown that failed' and declared that he had been completely exonerated.

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.

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Obstruction

Many observers had predicted the biggest danger to Trump came from a possible accusation of obstruction of justice, particularly over his decision to sack the FBI director James Comey, who headed the investigation before Mueller.

But US Attorney General said that the evidence outlined in Mueller's report 'is not sufficient to establish that the President committed an obstruction-of-justice offence.'

But while Barr — who was appointed by Trump — concluded that the president had not obstructed justice, he acknowledged that Mueller himself was inconclusive on the question of obstruction.

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No more indictments

Trump's former national security advisor Mike Flynn, his former personal lawyer Michael Cohen and his campaign chairman Paul Manafort are among the 34 individuals already indicted by Mueller but they will be the last, according to Barr.

'The report does not recommend any further indictments nor did the special counsel obtain any sealed indictments that have yet to be made public,' Barr said in his letter to the heads of the Senate and House judiciary committees.

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When it all started

In July 2016, the FBI quietly began investigating Russian election interference after WikiLeaks publishes 20,000 emails hacked from the Democratic National Committee. On the campaign trail, Trump calls on Russia to find 30,000 'missing' Clinton emails.

Later in November 2016, after Trump won the election, Barack Obama announced new sanctions on Russia and expelled 35 Moscow 'spies' over the election interference. 

On May 17, 2017, Mueller was named special counsel to take over the probe.

(Photograph:AFP)