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Here’s what Barr said — here’s what Mueller wrote: Startling comparison shows exactly how Trump’s AG distorted the Russia report

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Attorney General William Barr has been facing widespread criticism for his vigorous defense of President Donald Trump during a Thursday morning press conference held the day he released a redacted version of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s final report for the Russia investigation. But Barr’s defense of the president didn’t begin on Thursday: after Mueller completed his investigation and gave his report to Barr in March, the attorney general sent a four-page letter to Congress that was favorable enough to Trump for the president to insist that he had been totally vindicated. And in an article for the New York Times, Charlie Savage (known for his reporting on national security and legal matters) offers a detailed Barr/Mueller comparison showing the ways in which the attorney general spun Mueller’s comments in Trump’s favor.

In his letter in March, Barr wrote that Mueller “recognized that ‘the evidence does not establish that the president was involved in an underlying crime related to Russian election interference,’ and that, while not determinative, the absence of such evidence bears upon the president’s intent with respect to obstruction.” But Mueller’s report, Savage notes, also said that “the evidence does point to a range of other possible personal motives animating the president’s conduct. These include concerns that continued investigation would call into question the legitimacy of his election and potential uncertainty about whether certain events—such as advance notice of WikiLeaks’ release of hacked information or the June 9, 2016 meeting between senior campaign officials and Russians, could be seen as criminal activity by the president, his campaign or his family.”

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Savage notes that Barr’s “use of Mr. Mueller’s words turned the special counsel’s meaning on its head: the brief excerpt came from a list of other possible reasons Mr. Trump might have had to corruptly impede the investigation, and which Mr. Barr did not mention.”

In his March letter, Barr quoted Mueller’s report as saying that it “did not establish that members of the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.” According to Barr, that showed that his probe “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.” But Savage, comparing Mueller’s report and Barr’s interpretation of it, stresses that Barr “took a larger passage in which the Mueller report suggested that the Trump campaign and the Russian government were knowingly dancing together at a distance, and then excerpted a fragment to make it look like a cleaner exoneration.”

In his March letter, Barr wrote that Mueller’s report was inconclusive on whether or not Trump’s actions pertaining to the Russia investigation constituted obstruction of justice. Barr wrote that Mueller’s 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.” And according to Savage, Barr took the report’s reference to “difficult issues” out of context. Savage writes, “In fact, Mr. Mueller made clear that the difficulties resided in accusing Mr. Trump of committing a crime; if the facts had exonerated him, he would have been willing to say so.”

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… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

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White House spokesperson ridiculed for ‘pathetic’ spin on Trump’s trade war admission: ‘Does she think we believe that?’

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Hours after Donald Trump blithely admitted that he had "second thoughts" about his trade war with China that has damaged the U.S. economy and helped set the stage for a possible recession, White House spokesperson Stephanie Grisham was forced to issue a clarification about the president's comments.

Addressing Trump's G7 response about his tariffs, widely interpreted by the press as expressing some regret, Grisham issued a statement saying the president meant that he wished he had increased his market-destroying tariffs even more.

"The President was asked if he had ‘any second thought on escalating the trade war with China,'" White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham relayed. "His answer has been greatly misinterpreted. President Trump responded in the affirmative - because he regrets not raising the tariffs higher."

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Here is why Trump is obsessed with Greenland

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They say that history repeats itself, first as tragedy, then as farce. Remember that President Harry Truman tried to purchase Greenland in 1946; now, in 2019, President Donald Trump is trying to do the same thing.

This article first appeared in Salon.

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2020 Election

Iowa’s Steve King facing ouster because his campaign is broke and his allies have fled: report

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Iowa Republican Steve King is facing losing his seat representing his district in the U.S. House of Representatives as his campaign finds itself broke and the Republican Party has turned its back on him after his latest round of controversial comments.

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Even worse, his colleagues in Congress have also abandoned him.

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