Even Fox News Isn’t Buying Trump’s “No Obstruction” Lie About the Mueller Report

“Why is the president telling Americans something that is not true?”

President Donald Trump speaking at a rally in Michigan on Thursday where he lied about the findings of special counsel Robert Mueller's report. Paul Sancya/AP

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President Donald Trump has two talking points about the Mueller report: “No collusion” and “No obstruction.” Only the first is based in reality. Mueller’s report “does not exonerate” Trump on the “difficult issues” surrounding whether the president obstructed justice, according to passages of the report quoted in Attorney General William Barr’s memo to Congress. 

Fox News anchor Chris Wallace pressed White House adviser Kellyanne Conway on Sunday about the lies Trump continues to tell about the conclusions of the Mueller report. Wallace played a clip of Trump telling supporters at a rally on Thursday that Mueller found “no obstruction” and that the report was “total exoneration, complete vindication.”

“Why is the president telling Americans something that is not true?” Wallace asked.

“The Barr memo talks about no obstructive conduct,” Conway replied. 

In fact, Barr’s memo states that Mueller found evidence on “both sides of the [obstruction] question,” though the decision whether to prosecute the president on an obstruction charge was ultimately left up to Barr and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. Barr, who was appointed after writing a memo to senior Justice Department officials that said the obstruction investigation was “fatally misconceived,” announced a week ago that he and Rosenstein had concluded that the president did not obstruct justice. Still, according to Barr’s summary of Mueller’s findings, “The Special Counsel states that ‘while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.'” 

After Wallace reminded her of precisely this, Conway simply responded, “Well, it said many things. Most importantly, it said this president and his campaign did not commit a crime.”

Mueller’s report is nearly 400 pages long and has not yet been released in full to Congress or the public. Barr said on Friday that a redacted version will be sent to Congress “by mid-April, if not sooner.” 

Trump stuck with his version of events on Twitter on Sunday afternoon, writing, “Everybody is asking how the phony and fraudulent investigation of the No Collusion, No Obstruction Trump Campaign began.”

Watch the full interview with Conway here: 

 

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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