fb-pixel14 key takeaways from the Mueller report - The Boston Globe Skip to main content

14 key takeaways from the Mueller report

When it came to charging Trump, Mueller hesitated
Special counsel Robert Mueller cited a previous Justice Department policy that said a president can’t be indicted, in his decision making . (Anush Elbakyan/Globe Staff)

The long-awaited redacted report by Special Counsel Robert Mueller is two volumes and 448 pages long, including attachments.

Here are some of the highlights, compiled from Globe wire services:

► “Our investigation found multiple acts by [President Trump] that were capable of exerting undue influence over law enforcement investigations, including the Russia-interference and obstruction investigations,” the report said. “The president engaged in a series of targeted efforts to control the investigation.” Trump’s actions included “discouragement of cooperation with the government and suggestions of possible future pardons.”

► The report details 10 episodes that raised questions about obstruction of justice by Trump.


► In discussing the decision not to make a decision either way on charging the president with that crime, the report cited a Justice Department policy that says a sitting president can’t be charged. At the same time, the report said that investigators were unable to say with confidence that the president was innocent of obstruction. “If we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the President clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state. Based on the facts and the applicable legal standards, we are unable to reach that judgment,” Mueller’s report said. “Accordingly, while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.”

► Among the incidents examined were Trump’s decision to fire James Comey as FBI director, an attempt to have White House counsel Donald McGahn fire Mueller, efforts to hide details of a Trump Tower meeting with Russians during the election, and efforts to pressure Jeff Sessions to reverse his recusal from the investigation.

► The report said Trump’s efforts to influence the Russia probe ‘‘were mostly unsuccessful,’’ but that was because the people surrounding the president ‘‘declined to carry out orders to accede to his requests.’’ Those officials included Comey, McGahn, and former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, who ignored or refused Trump’s requests.


► McGahn said he resigned after Trump directed him to tell Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who was overseeing the Mueller probe, that “Mueller has to go,” according to the report. McGahn spoke to the president twice, making it unlikely that he misunderstood Trump’s request, the report said.

► Trump was not happy when he learned that Mueller had been appointed to investigate. He slumped in his chair and said, “Oh my God. This is terrible. This is the end of my presidency. I’m [expletive],” the report said.

► Investigators found a number of contacts between the Trump campaign but established no criminal conspiracy between Trump’s campaign and Russia. “While the investigation identified numerous links between individuals with ties to the Russian government and individuals associated with the Trump Campaign, the evidence was not sufficient to support criminal charges,” the report said.

► The report found that contacts between Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak and Trump campaign officials in April 2016 and at the 2016 GOP convention were ‘‘brief, public, and non-substantive.’’

► Investigators were dissatisfied with written responses from Trump, considering them “inadequate.” They considered issuing a subpoena for Trump but decided against it after weighing the likelihood of a long legal battle. In the answers, Trump on more than 30 occasions said he didn’t remember or didn’t have “independent recollection” in response to questions.


► Trump told Mueller he had no recollection of key events in Mueller’s probe, including the 2016 meeting at Trump Tower between top aides and a Russian lawyer offering aid to his campaign. Trump also told Mueller he had no recollection that he was told that President Vladimir Putin of Russia wanted to aid his campaign or hurt Hillary Clinton’s 2016 effort, or that any foreign leader wanted to help his candidacy.

► Along the way, the special counsel found evidence of other crimes and made 14 referrals, 12 of which remain secret. The other two are Michael Cohen, Trump’s former personal lawyer, and Gregory B. Craig, a White House counsel in the Obama administration.

► Attorney General William Barr, who held a news conference before the report was released, said the report would contain only “limited redactions” but the 199-page section on Russian meddling in the 2016 campaign included 135 pages with some form of redaction. Redactions appeared on 22 of 182 pages in the obstruction section and also showed up in the report’s table of contents. Barr had said that he would redact grand jury information and material related to ongoing investigations, privacy, and intelligence.

Material from Globe wire services was used in this report.