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AFP
April 20, 2019

US will take ‘tough action’ on Russian meddling: Trump seethes in foul-mouthed tirade against Mueller report

World

AFP
April 20, 2019

WASHINGTON: A seething President Donald Trump launched a tirade Friday against the "bull...t" Mueller report, dismissing testimony detailing how he tried to thwart the probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

In early morning tweets, Trump called it "the Crazy Mueller Report" written by "Haters" and filled with statements that "are fabricated & totally untrue." Some of the statements, he said, "are total bullshit & only given to make the other person look good (or me to look bad)."

Just 24 hours ago, the president was crowing "Game Over" for opponents after the long-awaited report by Special Counsel Robert Mueller came out, stating that Trump’s election campaign never actually colluded with Russian meddling efforts.

That meant Trump was cleared of suspicions that he’d been in cahoots with the Kremlin. But Trump, spending the long Easter weekend at his Florida golf resort, is now digesting the huge report’s findings that he was happy enough to benefit from Russian dirty tricks and tried repeatedly to hamper Mueller’s investigation.

Although Mueller stated he was following Justice Department policy in not charging Trump with the crime of obstruction of justice, he laid out 10 instances where the president took steps in that direction. As a result, Mueller said he could "not exonerate" him.

The almost 450-page report, including scenes of a White House filled with lying, swearing and barely disguised panic, marks a dramatic new low for a president who won election as an outsider on a mission to clear Washington’s "swamp."

Adding to its weight is the fact that the material is based largely on sworn testimony by Trump insiders, rather than rival politicians. Whether the Mueller report has any immediate effect on the US political scene ahead of 2020 elections, however, is uncertain.

Democrats say the report proves Trump is unfit for office, but with Republicans controlling the Senate, they have no chance of removing him through impeachment. And Trump, who throughout the two-year investigation has claimed to be victim of a "witch hunt," is using the latest uproar to cement his "us-against-them" appeal among a loyal right-wing support base.

What’s sure is that publication of the Mueller report will not end the bruising investigations into Trump. House Judiciary Committee chairman Jerry Nadler fired the first post-report shot for the Democrats, announcing a subpoena Friday requiring the Justice Department to hand over all the parts of the document that were blacked out for legal or security reasons. He also demanded to see the supporting documentation used by Mueller to make his findings.

"Even the redacted version of the report outlines serious instances of wrongdoing by President Trump and some of his closest associates," Nadler said. "It now falls to Congress to determine the full scope of that alleged misconduct and to decide what steps we must take going forward."

Another powerful Democrat with subpoena power, House Intelligence Committee chairman Adam Schiff, tore into Trump, saying his campaign’s Russia contacts were at a minimum unethical and that Congress should now determine whether his obstruction attempts amounted to a crime.

Meanwhile, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo vowed on Friday the United States would keep taking "tough action" on Russia after Special Counsel Robert Mueller revealed widespread attempts by Moscow to help elect President Donald Trump.

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