Barr defends Trump on obstruction, says he faced ‘unprecedented’ situation

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Attorney General William Barr offered a robust defense of President Trumpon Thursday at a press conference previewing the release of special counsel Robert Mueller‘s report, explaining why he did not find Trump obstructed justice based on Mueller’s findings.

Barr said the report, which is to be released later Thursday, offered a vindication of Trump and that on obstruction it was important to consider the “context” of Trump’s actions analyzed in Mueller’s final report.

Barr said that Trump faced an “unprecedented situation” in the course of Mueller’s investigation as well as “relentless speculation” in the media surrounding Trump’s own possible culpability in Russia’s interference in the 2016 election.Barr also said that Mueller’s report acknowledges the existence of “substantial evidence” showing Trump was frustrated by a “sincere belief that the investigation was undermining his presidency, propelled by his political opponents and fueled by illegal leaks.”

And Barr described the evidence of “noncorrupt” motives by Trump as weighing “heavily against” allegations Trump sought to impede the probe, asserting that Trump did not act in a way that deprived Mueller of documents or witness testimony and that the White House cooperated with the probe.

“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,” Barr said Thursday, hours before he was set to release a redacted version of Mueller’s final report to the public and Congress.

“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,” Barr said. – READ MORE

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