VOA News – Steve Herman
Although the special counsel’s 448-page report into Russian interference in the 2016 election campaign does not fully exonerate President Donald Trump he is certainly taking it that way.
«I’m having a good day, too,» Trump declared in the White House East Room as the report was released. «It’s called no collusion, no obstruction.»
Special Counsel Robert Mueller‘s 22-month investigation, while not concluding Trump committed any crime, also states specifically that it does not exonerate him.
During the Thursday morning event with wounded military veterans, as bulletins flashed across television screens detailing the findings contained in a redacted version of the report, Trump said, «This should never happen to another president again, this hoax.»
Later in the day, Trump tweeted: «I had the right to end the whole Witch Hunt if I wanted. I could have fired everyone, including Mueller, if I wanted. I chose not to. I had the RIGHT to use Executive Privilege. I didn’t!»
After arriving at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida to begin his three-day Easter weekend, Trump again took to Twitter, claiming: «Anything the Russians did concerning the 2016 Election was done while Obama was President. He was told about it and did nothing!»
Trump then claimed, «Most importantly, the vote was not affected.»
The president’s lawyers, Rudy Giuliani, Jay Sekulow, Jane Raskin and Martin Raskin, say in a statement, «The results of the investigation are a total victory for the President … it is clear there was no criminal wrongdoing.»
His attorneys also characterize the special counsel’s report as demonstrating Trump acted properly when he fired James Comey from his position as director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Mueller’s report says the special counsel found «substantial evidence» that Trump’s firing Comey was due to the FBI director’s «unwillingness to publicly state that the president was not personally under investigation» and the investigation determined Congress can make a determination on whether this constituted obstruction of justice by Trump.
The president was not interviewed by the investigators. Instead he submitted answers to written questions which the special counsel’s office considered «inadequate.» But the report says the special counsel did not pursue an interview with Trump that would have been restricted to certain topics because that would have caused a «substantial delay.»
Kellyanne Conway, counselor to the president, called the special counsel’s lengthy and intensive investigation «a political proctology exam.»
Speaking to reporters outside the West Wing early Thursday afternoon, she predicted the aftermath of the Mueller report may go in a different direction than of that many of the president’s opponents had desired.
«Let’s investigate the investigators,» Conway said.