The Hill's 12:30 Report: Inside the Mueller report

The Hill's 12:30 Report: Inside the Mueller report

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--> A midday take on what's happening in politics and how to have a sense of humor about it.*

*Ha. Haha. Hahah. Sniff. Haha. Sniff. Ha--breaks down crying hysterically.


The Hill's 12:30 Report: Inside the Mueller report | Report drops amid political firestorm | Mueller unable to 'conclusively' determine 'no criminal conduct occurred' | Report details '10 episodes' Mueller probed for obstruction | Trump calls it a 'good day' | Declares 'Game Over' with 'Game of Thrones' image | Barr offers staunch defense of Trump | Dems furious at AG | Nadler wants Mueller to testify before May 23



The Mueller report is here.:


Attorney General William BarrWilliam Pelham BarrTrump sides with religious leaders in fight against governors Senate Democrats call on Trump administration to let Planned Parenthood centers keep PPP loans Senate Republicans call on DOJ to investigate Planned Parenthood loans MORE just publicly released a redacted version of special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerCNN's Toobin warns McCabe is in 'perilous condition' with emboldened Trump CNN anchor rips Trump over Stone while evoking Clinton-Lynch tarmac meeting The Hill's 12:30 Report: New Hampshire fallout MORE’s report on his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. 

Full text of the Mueller report -->

How to find updates as we learn more from the report: Here’s a live blog as more details and takeaways are pulled from the report:




Bloomberg published a searchable version: The PDF of the Mueller report could not be searched. But here is a searchable copy:

The biggest news we’ve learned so far: Special counsel Robert Mueller said he was not able to “conclusively determine” that no criminal conduct occurred on whether Trump obstructed justice.

The quote — Mueller said he didn’t have enough evidence to exonerate Trump of obstruction of justice: "If we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the President clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state,” the report reads.


Mueller outlines 10 instances he investigated for possible obstruction:  

  1. Trump's conduct surrounding the investigation of former national security adviser Michael Flynn
  2. Trump’s reaction to public confirmation of the FBI’s Russia probe
  3. Events pertaining to the firing of former FBI Director James ComeyJames Brien ComeyFBI director Wray orders internal review of Flynn case Grenell says intelligence community working to declassify Flynn-Kislyak transcripts FBI director stuck in the middle with 'Obamagate' MORE
  4. Trump’s efforts to remove Mueller as special counsel
  5. The president’s efforts to limit the special counsel’s investigation
  6. Trump’s efforts to prevent disclosure of emails about the Trump Tower meeting
  7. The president’s efforts to have the attorney general take over the probe
  8. Trump ordering White House counsel to deny that he tried to fire the special counsel
  9. The president’s conduct toward Flynn, former Trump campaign chairman Paul ManafortPaul John ManafortCohen released from federal prison to home confinement due to coronavirus concerns Advocates call on states to release more inmates amid pandemic Michael Cohen to be moved to home confinement due to coronavirus concerns: report MORE and an unnamed individual
  10. The president’s conduct involving his former personal attorney Michael CohenMichael Dean CohenThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Mnuchin: More COVID-19 congressional action ahead Cohen released from federal prison to home confinement due to coronavirus concerns Michael Cohen to be moved to home confinement due to coronavirus concerns: report MORE.

More on each here:

Trump directed Don McGahn to fire Robert Mueller: "The Mueller report says that on June 17, Trump called Don McGahn at home and directed him to call the acting attorney general and say Mueller 'had conflicts of interest and must be removed.' McGahn declined to do so."

^ Read that except in the Mueller report

Trump tried to influence the investigation, but people around him declined to carry out his orders: “The President’s efforts to influence the investigation were mostly unsuccessful, but that is largely because the persons who surrounded the President declined to carry out orders or accede to his requests,” the report reads.

A takeaway from the obstruction of justice section: "Having read through a lot of the obstruction section, one constant theme is that basically everyone had, at one point, disregard what Trump told them to do because they felt they'd be committing a crime." (Via The Daily Beast's Sam Stein

Trump feared Mueller’s appointment: When Robert Mueller was appointed as special counsel in 2017, Trump said, “Oh my God. This is terrible. This is the end of my Presidency. I’m f---ed.”

Read Barr’s accompanying letter to Congress: Barr emphasizes transparency.

What the redactions look like:

Oh hello there, page 20: 

Throwback — if you want to compare to Barr’s 4-page summary: Here’s Barr’s 4-page summary of the Mueller report that was released in late March. Read:


It's a busy Thursday in Washington. I'm Cate Martel with a quick recap of the morning and what's coming up. Send comments, story ideas and events for our radar to -- and follow along on Twitter @CateMartel and Facebook.

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Picture the Dothraki screaming and charging in from one corner -- and the Lannisters charging in from the other side.

That is Washington today:



Live footage of newsrooms preparing this morning ;)

How the Mueller report was distributed: By compact disc. I'm not kidding.

Hey, can I get a floppy disc version?

The problem with delivering the report on CDs: "AG Barr says he's going to bring copies of the report to the House and Senate Judiciary Committee chairs and rankers. [Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamWhy do Americans worry about North Korea? Senate confirms Ratcliffe to be Trump's spy chief Abrams announces endorsements in 7 Senate races MORE] is currently on a CODEL in Africa."

Photo of Barr leaving for work this morning: When you know it's going to be A DAY.:

Photo of the letter sent to Mueller asking him to testify: House Judiciary Chair Rep. Jerrold NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerThe House impeachment inquiry loses another round — and yes, that's still going on Democrats call on DHS to allow free calls at ICE detention centers Warren announces slate of endorsements including Wendy Davis and Cornyn challenger Hegar MORE (D-N.Y.) signed a letter to special counsel Robert Mueller asking him to testify by May 23.

We're all in this together: The House Judiciary Committee gave its team doughnuts this morning -- and via The Hill's Olivia Beavers, "even offered extras to hungry reporters." 



Attorney General William Barr and Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod RosensteinSenate Republicans issue first subpoena in Biden-Burisma probe Graham to release report on his probe into Russia investigation before election McConnell embraces subpoena of Obama-era officials MORE held a press conference at 9:30 a.m. to discuss the Mueller report. 

Why this timing infuriated Democrats: House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) criticized Barr, accusing him of trying to spin the release to help President TrumpDonald John TrumpMulvaney: 'We've overreacted a little bit' to coronavirus Former CBS News president: Most major cable news outlets 'unrelentingly liberal' in 'fear and loathing' of Trump An old man like me should be made more vulnerable to death by COVID-19 MORE. Barr held the press conference ~hours before~ Congress received the Mueller report.

^ Oh and this new reporting didn't help -- the White House has been involved: Via The New York Times, "Justice Department officials have had numerous conversations with White House lawyers about the conclusions made by Mr. Mueller, the special counsel, in recent days, according to people with knowledge of the discussions. The talks have aided the president's legal team as it prepares a rebuttal to the report and strategizes for the coming public war over its findings."

For context: Here are five things to know about William Barr:

Video of the press conference:



The gist of Barr's remarks: Attorney General William Barr offered a robust defense of President Trump

Barr says there was no collusion in the Trump campaign: "We now know the Russian operatives who perpetrated these schemes did not have cooperation of Trump or his campaign or knowing assistance of any other American for that matter."

Barr kept reiterating that point: "Put it another way, the report found no collusion."

Barr tried to explain Trump's actions: "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 Trump 'fully cooperated with the special counsel's investigation': "At the same time, the president took no act that in fact deprived the special counsel of the documents and witnesses necessary to complete his investigation," Barr told reporters. "Apart from whether the acts were obstructive, this evidence of non-corrupt motives weighs heavily against any allegation that the president had a corrupt intent to obstruct the investigation."

A group of lawmakers will see the unredacted report: "In an effort to accommodate congressional requests, we will make available to a bipartisan group of leaders from several Congressional committees a version of the report with all redactions removed except those relating to grand-jury information." 

Trump's team saw the redacted report earlier this week: "Earlier this week, the President's personal counsel requested and was given the opportunity to read a final version of the redacted report before it was publicly released."

Barr explains the redactions: Barr said there are "limited redactions" and that "no material has been redacted based on executive privilege."



At 7:54 a.m., Trump tweeted: "The Greatest Political Hoax of all time! Crimes were committed by Crooked, Dirty Cops and DNC/The Democrats."

At 8:07 a.m., Trump tweeted: "PRESIDENTIAL HARASSMENT!"

At 8:54 a.m., Trump tweeted: "No Collusion - No Obstruction!"

(At 9:30 a.m.: Attorney General William Barr's press conference began.)

At 9:57 a.m., Trump tweeted: Trump used the logo from HBO's "Game of Thrones." "No collusion. No obstruction. For the haters and the radical left Democrats -- GAME OVER." The edited 'Game of Thrones' image:

(At 11:03 a.m., the Mueller report was publicly released.)

At 11:10 a.m., Trump spoke during an event: "I'm having a good day ... It's called no collusion, no obstruction." Trump also said: "This should never happen to another president again. This hoax. It should never happen to another president again. Thank you."



Top Dems call on Mueller to testify: Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiBottom line This week: Surveillance fight sets early test for House's proxy voting Women suffering steeper job losses in COVID-19 economy MORE (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerDemocratic leaders say Trump testing strategy is 'to deny the truth' about lack of supplies Trump slams Sessions: 'You had no courage & ruined many lives' Senate Democrats call on Trump administration to let Planned Parenthood centers keep PPP loans MORE (D-N.Y.) called on special counsel Robert Mueller to testify. They wrote in a joint statement: "We believe the only way to begin restoring public trust in the handling of the Special Counsel's investigation is for Special Counsel Mueller himself to provide public testimony in the House and Senate as soon as possible."

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) tweeted: "AG Barr has confirmed the staggering partisan effort by the Trump Admin to spin public's view of the #MuellerReport – complete with acknowledgment that the Trump team received a sneak preview. It's more urgent than ever that Special Counsel Mueller testify before Congress."

From Trump's lawyer Rudy GiulianiRudy GiulianiSunday shows preview: States begin to reopen even as some areas in US see case counts increase Moussaoui says he now renounces terrorism, bin Laden Democrats launch probe into Trump's firing of State Department watchdog, Pompeo MOREPolitico's Darren Samuelsohn tweeted, "Trump personal attorney Rudy Giuliani in a text message just now wrote me, 'Knockout.'"

Just now — statement from the Trump campaign: The campaign claims exoneration and says “the tables have turned.” Read the full statement:



Hidden in all the Mueller news today -- McConnell's bill to raise the tobacco age:

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Americans debate life under COVID-19 risks The 10 Senate seats most likely to flip Democratic leaders say Trump testing strategy is 'to deny the truth' about lack of supplies MORE (R-Ky.) announced this morning that he is introducing legislation to raise the national minimum age to buy tobacco from 18 to 21.

That includes: All tobacco products including vaping devices.

Any exemptions?: This proposal would exempt individuals serving in the military. 

McConnell said in a statement: "For some time, I've been hearing from the parents who are seeing an unprecedented spike in vaping among their teenage children. In addition, we all know people who started smoking at a young age and who struggled to quit as adults. Unfortunately it's reaching epidemic levels around the country." 

When McConnell will introduce the legislation: In May.


Perry's losing energy:

Via Bloomberg's Jennifer Jacobs, Jennifer A. Dlouhy and Ari Natter, Energy Secretary Rick PerryRick PerryCoronavirus Report: The Hill's Steve Clemons interviews Ernest Moniz Trump issues executive order to protect power grid from attack Why we need to transition, quickly, from fossil fuels to clean energy MORE is planning to leave the Trump administration.

When: His departure is not imminent, but Perry is reportedly preparing the Energy Department's deputy secretary to take over. 

Perry has been floated for DHS Secretary -- where that stands: "Trump personally asked Perry if he'd take over as Homeland Security secretary, before the president asked Kirstjen NielsenKirstjen Michele NielsenHillicon Valley: Twitter falling short on pledge to verify primary candidates | Barr vows to make surveillance reforms after watchdog report | DHS cyber chief focused on 2020 Sen. Kennedy slams acting DHS secretary for lack of coronavirus answers The 'accidental director' on the front line of the fight for election security MORE to resign earlier this month, two of the people said. Perry declined, they said." 



I just thought you should know:

Full-size photo



The House and Senate are out. President Trump and Vice President Pence are in Washington, D.C. Trump is leaving for his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Fla., later today.

11:45 a.m. EDT: President Trump met with Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoChinese state media: Wuhan conducted 6.5 million coronavirus tests in 9 days The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Americans debate life under COVID-19 risks The 10 Senate seats most likely to flip MORE.

1:30 p.m. EDT: President Trump receives an intelligence briefing.

4 p.m. EDT: President Trump and first lady Melania TrumpMelania TrumpThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Americans debate life under COVID-19 risks The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Crowds return during Memorial Day weekend Trump marks Memorial Day at Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Fort McHenry MORE leave for his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Fla.

Today: France is holding a daylong tribute to the firefighters who saved the Notre Dame Cathedral.



9:30 a.m. EDT: Attorney General William Barr and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein held a press conference to discuss the Mueller report, ahead of its release. Video:

10:30 a.m. EDT: President Trump spoke at the Wounded Warrior Project Soldier Ride. Livestream:



Today is National Animal Crackers Day.


D.C. real estate is pretty interesting:

Via Washingtonian, here's a list of the 100 priciest zip codes in the Washington, D.C. area:


And because it's been an intense morning and you deserve something lighter, here's a dog learning about the responsibility involved in taking other dogs for walks: