Donald Trump has said the release of Robert Mueller’s full report “wouldn’t bother me at all” as Democrats clamoured for the Justice Department to release the entire document and not just the summary from the attorney general.
The president’s remarks came as Democrats met to plot strategy for their own investigations of obstruction of justice and Russian election interference, among other matters related to the president, following the release of attorney general William Barr’s summary.
The four-page document said special counsel Mr Mueller did not find that Mr Trump’s campaign “conspired or co-ordinated” with the Russian government to influence the 2016 presidential election, knocking down arguments from Democrats who have claimed there was evidence of such collusion.
Mr Mueller reached no conclusion on whether Mr Trump obstructed justice, according to Mr Barr’s summary, instead setting out “evidence on both sides” of the question and stating that “while this report does not conclude the president committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him”.
Without a recommendation from Mr Mueller, Mr Barr stepped in and decided there was not sufficient evidence to establish that the president obstructed justice.
While Democrats have said Mr Barr’s letter should not be considered the final word on what Mr Mueller found, the president still claimed total vindication.
He said on Monday: “We can never let this happen to another president again.”
As he has many times before, he suggested the investigation was tainted from the beginning and said it was a “terrible thing”.
He even accused those responsible for launching it of “treasonous things against our country” and said they “certainly will be looked into”.
Mr Trump has spent months railing against former Justice Department officials, including former FBI director James Comey, accusing them of an illegal witch hunt for the purpose of delegitimising his presidency.
He has also falsely claimed that the investigation was based on memos compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele, and even blamed former senator John McCain, who died last year, for passing the memos to the FBI.
The investigation began months before the FBI ever saw the dossier, and the FBI already had a copy by the time Mr McCain turned it in.
Mr Trump, asked on Monday if he would be OK with the release of the full report, responded: “Up to the attorney general, but it wouldn’t bother me at all.”
Republicans followed his lead, with Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Lindsey Graham promising to “unpack the other side of the story” of the Russia investigation.
Mr Graham, who spent the weekend with Mr Trump in Florida, said his committee will investigate the actions of the Justice Department in the Russia investigation, including the FBI’s use of the Steele dossier.