Attorney General William Barr released his summary of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report on Sunday and the White House immediately tried to spin it as a total win for President Donald Trump.
In a letter to Congress, Barr wrote that Mueller “did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities" and “ultimately determined not to make a traditional prosecutorial judgment” on whether the president obstructed justice.
"The Special Counsel, therefore, did not draw a conclusion - one way or the other – as to whether the examined conduct constituted obstruction."
Barr noted, however, that although the report “does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him."
Despite all that, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders declared total victory for Trump:
"The Special Counsel did not find any collusion and did not find any obstruction. AG Barr and DAG Rosenstein further determined there was no obstruction. The findings of the Department of Justice are a total and complete exoneration of the President of the United States.”
The Special Counsel did not find any collusion and did not find any obstruction. AG Barr and DAG Rosenstein further… https://t.co/BPQb4n4y1X— Stephanie Grisham (@Stephanie Grisham)1553458391.0
George Conway, a conservative lawyer, outspoken Trump critic, and husband to one of Trump's closest advisors, was not about to let Sanders get away with such a blatant distortion of the Attorney General's words
"You misspelled 'While this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.' Pls fix. Thx."
You misspelled “While this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerat… https://t.co/foPmNEHPKH— George Conway (@George Conway)1553459216.0
Sanders' Twitter feed was inundated with similar comments from people wondering why she would lie about something so obvious. She knows we can read, right?
@PressSec YOU ARE A LIAR AND HAVE TAKEN PART IN OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE. YOUR STATEMENT IS DESPICABLE. YOU ALL DESER… https://t.co/ArzQ5jrqPA— Democracy 4 All (@Democracy 4 All)1553506538.0
@PressSec Why are you lying? It specifically says that they did not make that decision, Barr did. Next up: Congressional oversight.— Devin Nunes’ cow 🐮 (@Devin Nunes’ cow 🐮)1553459619.0
@PressSec I guess you’re just gonna ignore the part where it clearly states that it “does not exonerate him?“ One t… https://t.co/UUaCMSOJKu— Bishop Talbert Swan (@Bishop Talbert Swan)1553459814.0
@PressSec The Barr Summary literally says it “does not exonerate him”— Jake Maccoby (@Jake Maccoby)1553458597.0
@PressSec well that's a lie. Show us the report to see what he said about obstruction— Sandi Bachom (@Sandi Bachom)1553521461.0
@PressSec Barr’s report literally fucking said Trump wasn’t exonerated. Stop lying and your brother tortures dogs.— Rage Donkey™️ (@Rage Donkey™️)1553459020.0
Trump also decided on Sunday to twist Barr's words.
"No Collusion, No Obstruction, Complete and Total EXONERATION. KEEP AMERICA GREAT!" the president tweeted shortly after Barr's letter was made public.
RT @realDonaldTrump: No Collusion, No Obstruction, Complete and Total EXONERATION. KEEP AMERICA GREAT!— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump)1553509593.0
But he did not get away with it.
Barr quite literally said that Trump was not exonerated.
@realDonaldTrump "The Special Counsel states that 'while this report does not conclude that the President committed… https://t.co/rOi4JIXdwM— Ryan Hill (@Ryan Hill)1553486203.0
@realDonaldTrump Barr includes this quote from the Mueller report. “While this report does not conclude that the Pr… https://t.co/BO2QniKSW1— Mia Farrow (@Mia Farrow)1553522298.0
@realDonaldTrump Hey #Trump… If you’re so innocent, how come you fought like an animal not to testify before… https://t.co/JEcAVXIM3B— Andy Ostroy (@Andy Ostroy)1553475981.0
@realDonaldTrump When the highlight of your presidency is that you did NOT get indicted for conspiring with the Rus… https://t.co/CTCifRHCze— (((DeanObeidallah))) (@(((DeanObeidallah))))1553516630.0
@realDonaldTrump Right, no justification for investigations... ✅ Trump Tower “adoption” lie ✅ Trump Advisor Roger… https://t.co/rpg4QZwh09— ♻️🇺🇸 Christopher Zullo (@♻️🇺🇸 Christopher Zullo)1553508683.0
We deserve to see Mueller's report. Trump said so himself last week. “Let it come out, let people see it,” Trump told reporters last Wednesday.
@realDonaldTrump Awesome. Then surely there’s no harm in releasing the full report.— Patrick Tillmann (@Patrick Tillmann)1553523921.0
@realDonaldTrump OK...great! So let us all see what's in the full report since there is total and complete exoneration.— Former GOP Voting Blue (@Former GOP Voting Blue)1553522839.0
@realDonaldTrump Then tell your buddy Barr to release the full and unredacted report and let all of America see for themselves.— resister all the way!!!🇺🇸🇺🇸 (@resister all the way!!!🇺🇸🇺🇸)1553522712.0
At least people are going to prison for lying about something that never happened. 🤔— GonzoModulo (@GonzoModulo)1553525504.0
Democrats in the House of Representatives have vowed to get the full story to the American people. It is likely that Barr and Mueller will receive subpoenas to testify before Congress.
Consider too that the Mueller probe's conclusion is far from the end of Trump's legal woes. There are still 19 ongoing federal and state investigations into Trump, his businesses, his family, and his associates.