The West

Summary of Mueller report partially vindicates Devin Nunes

President Donald Trump is not the only person likely to proclaim vindication after Special Counsel Robert Mueller delivered his final report. California Republican Rep. Devin Nunes could too.

After a two-year investigation, U.S. Attorney General William Barr released a summary of Mueller’s findings. Key among them: there was not sufficient evidence to charge anyone on Trump’s campaign of working with Russia to affect the 2016 election.

That means victory for Nunes, one of Trump’s staunchest allies on the Hill who has spent the months calling the Mueller investigation a waste of taxpayer dollars and stating that federal law enforcement should have been looking into the campaign of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

“The Russia investigation was based on false pretenses, false intel, and false media reports. House Intel found a yr (sic) ago there was no evidence of collusion, and Democrats who falsely claim to have such evidence have needlessly provoked a terrible, more than two-year-long (sic) crisis,” Nunes tweeted Sunday.

In a report sent to Congress on Sunday, Attorney General William Barr said Mueller “issued more than 2,800 subpoenas, executed nearly 500 search warrants, ... made 13 requests to foreign governments for evidence, and interviewed approximately 500 witnesses.”

Concluding the extensive investigation, Mueller did not find sufficient evidence that any member of the Trump campaign with working with the Russians. “The investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities,” Mueller’s report states, according to Barr.

Mueller laid out actions by Trump that could constitute obstruction of justice but declined to make a prosecutorial judgment, leaving that decision to Barr and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. Barr said they decided to not pursue charges.

“The Special Counsel states that ‘while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him,’” Barr wrote.

Nunes, who was the chair of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and is currently the top Republican on the committee, would have had unique insight into investigations into Russian interference, but not into the Mueller investigation, which was under the jurisdiction of the Department of Justice and not Congress. He’s also been one of Trump’s most loyal allies on the Hill, even delivering information on investigations into Trump to the White House in 2017.

Nunes on March 13 told Laura Ingraham on Fox to expect criminal referrals from the House Intelligence Committee in the next month, but “we’d like to see the Mueller report first.”

However, what’s not resolved by the Mueller report: Nunes’ and other Republicans’ frequent assertions that the FBI and Department of Justice had a group of corrupt actors working to undermine or oust Trump, which became known as the deep state. That was the subject of the infamous four-page Nunes memo, which the House Intelligence Committee released last year over the objections of Democrats on the committee.

That memo alleged that Carter Page, an adviser to the Trump campaign, had only been placed under surveillance due to the unverified dossier, which began as partisan research. The FBI disputes this account.

Barr said there are no further indictments, sealed or otherwise, recommended by Mueller. Mueller said he has passed information to other law enforcement entities for “further action.”

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Kate Irby is based in Washington, D.C. and reports on issues important to McClatchy’s California newspapers, including the Sacramento Bee, Fresno Bee and Modesto Bee. She previously reported on breaking news in D.C., politics in Florida for the Bradenton Herald and politics in Ohio for the Cleveland Plain Dealer.