(Photo by Mandel NGAN / AFP)
(Photo by Mandel NGAN / AFP)

Washington: The nearly two-year investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller found “no evidence” of a “collusion” between the Trump campaign and the Russian government during the 2016 US elections, Attorney General William Barr Thursday announced Thursday, in a major relief to President Donald Trump.  Addressing the media at the Department of Justice here on the release of Mueller’s redacted report on the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

Mueller was chosen to head the investigation in 2017 following concerns from US intelligence agencies that Russia had tried to tip the election in Trump’s favour. The businessman-turned-politician defeated former secretary of state Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election.  Barr said Mueller investigated a number of links or contacts between Trump Campaign officials and individuals connected with the Russian government.

“After reviewing those contacts, the special counsel did not find any conspiracy to violate US law involving Russia-linked persons and any persons associated with the Trump campaign,” Barr said on the 400-page report.  He, however, said the Russian government sought to interfere in US election process. Barr emphasised that the primary purposes of the Special Counsel’s investigation was to determine whether members of the presidential campaign of Trump, or any individuals associated with that campaign, conspired or coordinated with the Russian government to interfere in the 2016 election.

The Special Counsel’s report states that his “investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.”  “I am sure that all Americans share my concerns about the efforts of the Russian government to interfere in our presidential election. As the Special Counsel’s report makes clear, the Russian government sought to interfere in our election.

“But thanks to the Special Counsel’s thorough investigation, we now know that the Russian operatives who perpetrated these schemes did not have the cooperation of President Trump or the Trump campaign — or the knowing assistance of any other Americans for that matter,” he said.  “That is something that all Americans can and should be grateful to have confirmed,” Barr said. He said the report details efforts by Russian military officials associated with the GRU to hack into computers and steal documents and e-mails from individuals affiliated with the Democratic Party and the presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton for the purpose of eventually publicising those e-mails.

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