EXCLUSIVE: In an interview with @GStephanopoulos, President Trump kept bringing up the Mueller report.
— This Week (@ThisWeekABC) June 16, 2019
President Donald Trump said the report from Special Counsel Robert Mueller found “no collusion,” even though the actual document stated that investigators didn’t look at “collusion” per se. Here’s POTUS’ exchange with ABC host George Stephanopoulos.
“He found no collusion, and he didn’t find anything having to do with obstruction because they made a ruling based on his findings, and they said no obstruction,” said the president.
“They didn’t examine collusion,” said Stephanopoulos. “He laid out evidence of obstruction.”
“Oh, you’re trying to say now that there was collusion, even though he said there is no collusion,” said Trump.
“He didn’t say there was no collusion,” said Stephanopoulos.
“He said, ‘No collusion,’” said Trump.
“He said he didn’t look at collusion,” said the host.
“George, the report said, ‘No collusion,” said Trump.
“Did you read the report?” said Stephanopoulos.
“Yes, I did,” said Trump. “And you should read it too.”
The word “collusion” makes an overwhelming amount of appearances in media coverage and political debate leading up to the release of the redacted version of the special counsel’s report. Attorney General William Barr used it in his press conference just before the document became public, saying, “Put another way, the Special Counsel found no ‘collusion’ by any Americans in the IRA’s illegal activity.” But Mueller’s team categorically dismissed using the term. They instead looked at “conspiracy” and “cooperation.” Here’s how they described the terms of their analysis [emphasis ours]:
[Screengrab via ABC News]
… collusion is not a specific offense or theory of liability found in the United States Code, nor is it a term of art in federal criminal law. For those reasons, the Office’s focus in analyzing questions of joint criminal liability was on conspiracy as defined in federal law. In connection with that analysis, we addressed the factual question whether members of the Trump Campaign “coordinat[ ed]”-a term that appears in the appointment order-with Russian election interference activities. Like collusion, “coordination” does not have a settled definition in federal criminal law. We understood coordination to require an agreement-tacit or express- between the Trump Campaign and the Russian government on election interference.