As it happenedended1553297063

Mueller report: 'No indictments' after special counsel delivers report on Trump-Russia probe

White House says the next steps are 'up to Attorney General William Barr'

 

Lucy Anna Gray
New York
,Clark Mindock
Friday 22 March 2019 23:35
Comments
Donald Trump launches furious tirade against Mueller on White House lawn as he calls Comey a 'bad cop'

Special counsel Robert Mueller has submitted a report to the attorney general’s office, signalling the end to a two year investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 US election.

Mr Mueller did not recommend any further indictments, a senior Justice Department official said. Although no specific information from the report has been made available yet, this announcement may suggest no more criminal charges against Donald Trump associates from the investigation.

The report has been handed to Attorney General William Barr, who President Trump selected at the end of 2018.

Donald Trump was at his Mar-a-Lago property in Florida when the Justice Department announced the reports arrival.

In response to the report White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said: “The next steps are up to Attorney General Barr, and we look forward to the process taking its course. The White House has not received or been briefed on the Special Counsel’s report.”

After news of Mr Mueller finishing his report, Democrat Senator Chuck Schumer spoke to press, emphasising the party message that the report “must be made public.”

“The White House must not be allowed to interfere in what parts of the report are made public,” Mr Schumer said. “The demand of the public is overwhelming ... it will be made public.”

The US special counsel’s investigators have looked into a large number of contacts between people associated with Mr Trump’s 2016 campaign and Russia.

Mr Mueller sought to determine whether the campaign coordinated with Moscow, though it was not immediately clear whether the special counsel found evidence of a conspiracy.

Follow events as they happened below

Additional reporting by Reuters

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Hello and welcome to The Independent's rolling coverage of the Donald Trump administration.

Joe Sommerlad22 March 2019 09:36
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President Trump yesterday declared on Twitter the US would recognise Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights.

The territory was captured by Israel in 1967 and annexed in 1981 - a move not recognised internationally. Mr Trump's announcement therefore marks a major shift in US foreign policy.

The move was unsurprisingly praised by Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who tweeted: “At a time when Iran seeks to use Syria as a platform to destroy Israel, President Trump boldly recognises Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights. Thank you President Trump!”

But a Syrian state news agency, citing a foreign ministry source, said the president's statement revealed "the blind bias of the United States" towards Israel and did not change "the reality that the Golan was and will remain Syrian, Arab".

"The Syrian nation is more determined to liberate this precious piece of Syrian national land through all available means," the source said, adding that Mr Trump's statement was "irresponsible" and showed "contempt" for international law.

Iran's foreign ministry likewise denounced the declaration, stating: "This illegal and unacceptable recognition does not change the fact that it belongs to Syria."

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey commented: "We cannot allow the legitimisation of the occupation of the Golan Heights."

Here's Bel Trew and Clemence Michallon.

Joe Sommerlad22 March 2019 09:58
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Among the weirder responses to the Golan Heights declaration was this from US secretary of state Mike Pompeo, visiting Jerusalem on a diplomatic mission coinciding with the Jewish holiday of Purim.

Interviewed by the Christian Broadcasting Network, Mr Pompeo was asked whether Donald Trump was "a new Esther", referring to the Biblical heroine who convinced the king of Persia not to slaughter the Jewish people.

"As a Christian I certainly believe that's possible," Mr Pompeo answered, adding, "I am confident that the Lord is at work here."

Joe Sommerlad22 March 2019 10:03
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Back in DC, Representative Elijah Cummings, who chairs the House Oversight and Reform Committee and recently heard the testimony of Michael Cohen, has suggested the president's daughter Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner may have broken a federal law.

In a letter to White House counsel Pat Cipollone, Mr Cummings said his committee was told by President Trump's lawyer Abbe Lowell that official email communications are not retained unless the president responds to them, which, he says, is a practice that violates the Presidential Records Act, requiring that complete records be kept.

The Washington Post reported in November that Ivanka Trump had used a personal email account for government business, recalling Republican outrage against Hillary Clinton.

Ivanka's husband and fellow adviser to her father, Jared Kushner, was also accused of conducting government business on WhatsApp in the same letter.

Here's Andrew Buncombe.

Joe Sommerlad22 March 2019 10:14
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Joe Sommerlad22 March 2019 10:25
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Having apparently left behind his extremely ill-advised feuds with the late John McCain and George Conway, eccentric husband of Kellyanne, President Trump is meeting with a host of Caribbean leaders at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida today, with Venezuela on the agenda.

The five leaders of Jamaica, Bahamas, Haiti, Dominican Republic and St Lucia will arrive in Miami to express solidarity with the US call to oust the Latin American country's president Nicolas Maduro in favour of challenger Juan Guaido.

The Trump administration considers Maduro's government a dictatorship and says he was re-elected in an illegitimate election. The US has sanctioned scores of top Venezuelan officials and has blocked US banks from doing business with Venezuela, putting a financial strangle-hold on the cash-strapped country. The country is in an economic meltdown and millions of Venezuelans have fled. 

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders says President Trump will use the meeting to thank the leaders for their support for peace and democracy in Venezuela and discuss potential opportunities for energy investment. 

Nations in the Caribbean, however, have been split on whether to interfere in Venezuela. 

For years, Venezuela has provided a reliable supply of oil to many Caribbean nations. They purchased the oil under the PetroCaribe arrangement, which gave them low-interest credit terms, but have left them indebted to Caracas. 

Ms Sanders also said Mr Trump will also use the meeting to strengthen cooperation and counter "China's predatory economic practices."

Joe Sommerlad22 March 2019 10:35
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Yesterday President Trump signed an executive order requiring US colleges to protect free speech on their campuses or risk losing federal research funding.

The new order directs federal agencies to ensure that any college or university receiving research grants agrees to promote free speech and the exchange of ideas and to follow federal rules guiding free expression. 

"Even as universities have received billions and billions of dollars from taxpayers, many have become increasingly hostile to free speech and to the First Amendment," Mr Trump said at a White House signing ceremony. "These universities have tried to restrict free thought, impose total conformity and shut down the voices of great young Americans." 

The order follows a growing chorus of complaints from conservatives who say their voices have been stifled on campuses across the US.

Joining Trump at the ceremony were students who said they were challenged by their schools while trying to express views against abortion or in support of their faith, an event loaded with awkward gaffes:

Joe Sommerlad22 March 2019 10:42
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This line was especially brazen given The New York Times's reporting earlier this week that Mr Trump had received $2bn (£1.5bn) in loans from Deutsche Bank to pay for real estate ventures over two decades despite being considered a risk and allegedly grossly overstating his wealth:

Here's a reminder on that from Chris Baynes.

Joe Sommerlad22 March 2019 10:46
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A much more sober run on Twitter from the president yesterday, indicating that even Donald Trump might be feeling chastened by the reaction to his recent spat with a dead war hero - even senior Republicans and Fox and Friends felt compelled to come to the late John McCain's defence.

Retweets about the improving economy from the official White House account and Republican National Committee chairwoman Ronna McDaniel and praise from his own son, Don Jr, were all we got, other than the Golan Heights announcement.

Joe Sommerlad22 March 2019 10:53
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He's out of bed early today though.

Joe Sommerlad22 March 2019 10:53

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