Recap: The Russians interfered in the 2016 presidential election in two ways: they flooded social media with anti-Clinton/pro-Trump messaging, and they hacked and distributed email that disparaged Hillary Clinton, and published those email on WikiLeaks.
George Papadopoulos, foreign campaign advisor to then-candidate Trump, met an Australian diplomat at the Kensington Wine Rooms in London in May 2016. There, over cocktails, Papadopoulos told the Australian that the Trump campaign had dirt on Hillary Clinton.
After the WikiLeaks email dump that included disparaging information on Clinton, the Australians told the (American) FBI about the London convo.
The FBI investigation was begun.
Two years later, we have the Mueller Report.
The Trump team was interested in the information the Russians had on Hillary Clinton, they wanted to hear more about it, but they didn’t actually steal the information, or work with the Russians in order to steal it. From this, you’ve heard the “no collusion” conclusion in the news.
The Mueller Report indicates at least ten examples of obstruction by the President but does not draw conclusions from those examples. He neither exonerates (un-accuses) nor accuses, but instead lays out the facts as he discovered them.
In other words, Mueller provides the evidence for the Justice Department to do something (or not do something) after the President leaves office or, perhaps, to help Congress determine its next steps.
Mueller’s unwillingness to draw conclusions is based on a Justice Department policy that no sitting President can be indicted.
In order to dig in a little deeper, we’ve set up a debate, based on information in the Mueller Report, that we hope roughly captures two positions.
The president knew he didn’t collude with Russia. And, he felt as though the special counsel investigation would get in the way of his ability to run the country which is why he did everything he could to stop the investigation.
The president didn’t conspire against the US by working with Russia, but he came close. The President obstructed justice at every opportunity, but most of his requests were shut down by the people around him.