Donald Trump seems exempt from suspicions of collusion with Moscow during the 2016 campaign, but has Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller found other compromising information for the US president? The answer is expected Thursday with the publication of its final investigation report.
This 400-page document is due to be released in the morning by the Ministry of Justice, which has, however, expunged it of a whole series of confidential information.
Its content could definitively close a politico-judicial saga that has poisoned the first two years of Donald Trump’s term, and allow him to turn resolutely towards his re-election campaign.
But the democratic opposition is on the lookout. If the report contains evidence against the president, it will use all means in his power, starting with his control of the lower house of Congress, to relaunch the prosecution.
As the deadline approaches, the tenant of the White House has posted his confidence. “No collusion, no obstruction!”, He hammered, saying “totally exculpated” by prosecutor Mueller’s investigation.
The latter, a former respected FBI leader, completed in March 22 months of sprawling investigations, punctuated by the indictment of 34 Russian and US, including six close associates of President Trump for misconduct miscellaneous.
This methodical and austere man, who has always kept himself away from political and media jitters, has simply submitted his final report to Justice Minister Bill Barr, letting him handle the aftermath of the events.
The Attorney General quickly said that the prosecutor had not found evidence of a “coordination or conspiracy” between Russia and the entourage of the Republican billionaire in the 2016 presidential election.
- Obstruction –
In a four-page letter to Congress, he was more nuanced on the second part of the investigation: suspicions of obstruction of justice.
Due in particular to the dismissal of FBI leader James Comey in May 2017, who was leading the Russian investigation, Donald Trump was suspected of abusing his presidential prerogatives to impede the investigators.
On this aspect, “if this report does not conclude that the president has committed a crime, he does not exonerate him either,” wrote Robert Mueller in his report, statements quoted by Bill Barr who however felt that he did not have to continue.
Democrats have found that the minister, recently appointed to this position by Donald Trump, was going a bit fast and want to know the basics of his decision.
Members of the Mueller team also told the press that Bill Barr’s summary did not accurately reflect the outcome of their work.
Suspecting the minister of having watered down the conclusions of the special prosecutor, the Democrats are demanding access to the full report.
However, the version released Thursday will be redacted details likely to reveal the sources of investigators, to damage the reputation of “peripheral” actors, to compromise investigations in progress or obtained by a “grand jury”.
Prosecutor Mueller has used these collectives of citizens, whose work is protected by rules of strict confidentiality, and his final report could have suffered many cuts.
- “Angry cops” –
Donald Trump said he did not read the Mueller report. White House lawyers have, however, discussed with the ministry and stand ready to quickly refute suspicions of obstruction of justice if they were to be strengthened.
The president has also continued his work undermining an investigation he has always compared to a “witch hunt” orchestrated by democrats unable to digest their defeat in 2016.
On Tuesday, he again took the formula on Twitter and criticized the “angry cops” dropped at his heels by the opposition.
Preview of the games ahead, it was offended Wednesday night the announcement of a press conference Bill Barr Thursday at 9:30 (13:30 GMT) before the report to parliamentarians.
She accused him of wanting to condition the minds before the Americans had time to form their opinion. Representative Hakeem Jeffries on Twitter urged the minister to “pull out the report and shut up”.