President Donald Trump had plenty to say on Twitter in the run-up to Attorney General William Barr’s news conference, and then after the publication of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Thursday. He reiterated what he’s said from the start: “No Collusion - No Obstruction!” One thing he didn’t do? Acknowledge what his intelligence agencies, as well as their counterparts in Britain and Germany, congressional investigations, and even Barr himself, have said—that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election.
Trump’s reaction to Mueller’s investigation has been consistent since the special counsel began his inquiry nearly two years ago. The president has denied wrongdoing, played the victim, and refrained from criticizing Russia’s role in the election.
And so it was Thursday. The attorney general elaborated on how the Internet Research Agency, which has close links to the Russian government, worked to sow discord among Americans online, as well as how the GRU, the Russian spy agency, attempted to hack computers belonging to the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton, Trump’s election rival, and ultimately transferred some of the documents to WikiLeaks, the whistle-blowing organization. But the bottom line, Barr said in his remarks to the media, was that while “the Special Counsel confirmed that the Russian government sponsored efforts to illegally interfere with the 2016 presidential election … [he] did not find that the Trump campaign or other Americans colluded in those efforts.”