- President Donald Trump responded to special counsel Robert Mueller’s final report with a triumphant “Game of Thrones”-themed image stating “no collusion, no obstruction, for the haters and radical left Democrats, game over.”
- Trump tweeted the image shortly after Attorney General William Barr gave a press conference announcing Mueller had found insufficient evidence to bring a charge of conspiracy to interfere in the 2016 election against anyone involved in the Trump campaign.
- For the nearly two years that Mueller’s team pursued their investigation, Trump attacked it as “rigged witch hunt” led by “angry Democrats,” and claimed hundreds of times there was “no collusion.”
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President Donald Trump responded to the redacted version of special counsel Robert Mueller’s final report with a triumphant “Game of Thrones”-themed image stating, “no collusion, no obstruction, for the haters and radical left Democrats, game over.”
Trump tweeted the image shortly after Attorney General William Barr gave a press conference announcing Mueller had found insufficient evidence to bring a charge of conspiracy to interfere in the 2016 election against anyone involved in the Trump campaign.
Mueller identified two separate Russian interference efforts: an online disinformation effort spearheaded by a firm called the Internet Research Agency, and a targeted campaign that waged cyber attacks on the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Those attacks obtained DNC and Clinton campaign materials later disseminated to the public by WikiLeaks.
For the nearly two years that Mueller’s team pursued their investigation, Trump attacked it as “rigged witch hunt” led by “angry Democrats,” and claimed hundreds of times there was “no collusion” between the Trump campaign and the Russian government.
In the days leading up to the report’s release – when the White House was reportedly briefed on Mueller’s findings– Trump’s tone on social media became more adversarial and frenzied, attacking federal prosecutors as “dirty cops,” re-tweeting claims alleging criminal activity by Hillary Clinton, and tweeting a video montage of the many times he claimed there had been “no collusion.”
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 18, 2019
HBO, the producer of “Game of Thrones, responded to Trump’s use of the image in a Thursday statement to the Washington Post, saying, “though we can understand the enthusiasm for Game of Thrones now that the final season has arrived, we still prefer our intellectual property not be used for political purposes.”
Attorney General William Barr submitted a review of Mueller’s findings on March 24, which said Mueller’s team did not make a “traditional prosecutorial judgment” as to whether Trump obstructed the Mueller probe itself and other federal investigations involving him.
Barr’s letter added that while Mueller did not “draw a conclusion – one way or the other – as to whether the examined conduct constitutes obstruction,” Mueller’s report “also does not exonerate” Trump of any criminal conduct.
Barr continued that he and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who oversaw the Mueller probe for most of its duration, concluded that the special counsel’s findings were “not sufficient” to determine that Trump committed obstruction of justice.
Trump and those in his orbit initially celebrated Barr’s review of Mueller’s report, proudly claiming victory over his detractors at a campaign rally and slamming the media as “fake news” – until multiple outlets, including the Washington Post and NBC News, reported that the actual Mueller report was far more damning to Trump than Barr’s review let on.
Just two days after praising Mueller’s “no collusion findings,” Trump changed his tune and reverted back to slamming the investigation as a “witch hunt,” accusing House Democrats of “presidential harassment” in subpoenaing the report.
While Trump himself has not been charged, a number of his closest associates at the highest levels of his campaign including his campaign chairman Paul Manafort, his longtime friend and occasional adviser Roger Stone, and his former personal lawyer and “fixer,” Michael Cohen were all indicted in connection with the Mueller probe.
Manafort was sentenced to seven-and-a-half years in prison after being convicted of eight counts of tax and bank fraud and pleading guilty to conspiracy and obstruction of justice, and Cohen was sentenced to three years after pleading guilty to tax and bank fraud in the Southern District of New York, and pleading guilty to lying to Congress as part of the Mueller probe.
In January, Mueller charged Stone with lying to Congress, obstruction of justice, and witness tampering. Stone denies the charges and has pleaded not guilty.
Former campaign advisors Michael Flynn, who briefly served as Trump’s national security advisor, and George Papadopoulos also both pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI. Papadopoulos served 12 days in federal prison in November, and Flynn, who provided over a year of cooperation to Mueller, has not yet been sentenced.
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