The U.S. Attorney General released the main findings of the long-awaited special counsel report into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, and here's meat of what everyone wanted to know: There's no proof that President Donald Trump or his campaign conspired with Russian forces to swing the election, and there was no "conclusion" on whether the president tried to obstruct justice.
"The Special Counsel states that 'while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.'," wrote Attorney General William P. Barr, who added that the report recommends no more indictments and that no secret sealed indictments remain.
While that quote about potential obstruction offers something for friends and foes of President Donald Trump to chew on, it appeared an anticlimactic conclusion to the years' long probe. It also appeared to please Trump -- who has repeatedly called the special counsel's investigation a "witch hunt."
"No Collusion, No Obstruction, Complete and Total EXONERATION. KEEP AMERICA GREAT!" is how Trump responded over Twitter to the report.
The four page summary report by Barr was reportedly delivered to U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, Rep. Jerrold Nadler, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, and Rep. Doug Collins late in the afternoon.
Barr's letter explains the great depth of Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller's report that "thoroughly investigated allegations that members of the presidential campaign of Donald J. Trump, 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."
Mueller's report relied on the help 19 lawyers and 40 FBI agents, analysts, forensic experts and others, and the information gathered from 2,800 subpoenas, 500 search warrants, and interviews with some 500 witnesses, as well as other sources.
Barr wrote that the special counsel's report was broken into two sections, one that discusses the probe into Russia's meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, and the second that reviewed "actions by the President - most of which have been the subject of public reporting - that the Special Counsel investigated as potentially raising obstruction-of-justice concerns."
Some of the key points put forward by Barr that relate specifically to the president and his campaign were that:
* "The Special Counsel's investigation did not find that the Trump campaign or anyone associated with it conspired or coordinated with Russia in its efforts to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election. As the report states: '[T]he investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.'"
* "After making a 'thorough factual investigation' into these matters, 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.'"
* "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."