What started off as another weekend of golf with political allies and celebrities for President Donald Trump in South Florida ended with him touting claims of victory over a nearly two-year probe into his relationship with Russia.
Trump interpreted a first-look into the findings, unveiled Sunday, as a “complete and total exoneration” from special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into his alleged ties between with Russia to influence the 2016 election.
A summary of the findings, released Sunday from Attorney General William Barr, said the investigation found no evidence of the ties, but it did not exonerate the president from claims of obstruction of justice.
“This was an illegal takedown that failed and hopefully somebody is going to be looking at the other side,” Trump said before boarding Air Force One on Sunday afternoon, about an hour after the summary was released.
Mueller did not make a determination on whether Trump committed obstruction of justice in the Russia probe, the summary said. Barr and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein determined that evidence gathered by Mueller was insufficient, and the investigation “did not draw a conclusion either” way.
“While this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him,” Barr wrote, citing the Mueller report.
The summary does say Mueller did not find that the Trump campaign or its associates “conspired or coordinated” with Russia in its efforts to influence the 2016 election.
The full report of Mueller’s investigation remains undisclosed, and it is unclear when, and how much, of the report will be released.
The president was briefed about the letter by staff and attorneys in his private quarters at Mar-a-Lago, where he spent the weekend. “This is very good,” Trump said when he was briefed, according to spokesman Hogan Gidley .
The president’s statement came after a weekend visit to his Mar-a-Lago home where he golfed with U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney.
Trump’s campaign also claimed triumph in a video on YouTube posted shortly after the president’s statements Sunday. In it, the video says Mueller “proves [Democrats] wrong,” over claims of collusion.
Some Florida Republican lawmakers weighed in on the news Sunday.
“We’ve been right since the beginning — the investigation has been a witch hunt the entire time,” Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz said on Twitter.
Republican Congressman Brian Mast also linked to an article about the summary on social media, and asked his followers to donate to his campaign.
“Will you please chip in $20.20 to help us spread the TRUTH ahead of the 2020 election?” Mast said in a tweet.
Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.