Mueller Findings May Shake Up 2020 Landscape In Trump's Favor, Experts Say

The conclusion of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation without accusing President Donald Trump or those around him of colluding with Russia during the 2016 election lifts perhaps the biggest cloud hanging over Trump’s 2020 re-election bid, but Democrats say many other concerns remain about his conduct and fitness for office that could derail his run for a second term.

After 675 days of exhaustive investigation, Mueller submitted his final report to the Department of Justice Friday, recommending no additional indictments. Attorney General Bill Barr relayed Mueller’s findings in a four-page letter to congressional leaders Sunday, stating that the special counsel’s investigation did not find the Trump campaign or anyone associated with it conspired or cooperated with Russia to influence the election.

“No Collusion, No Obstruction, Complete and Total EXONERATION. KEEP AMERICA GREAT!” Trump tweeted in response.

Despite Trump’s exultations, Mueller’s report explicitly did not provide “Complete and Total EXONERATION.” According to Barr, Mueller did not reach a conclusion on whether the president obstructed justice. However, Barr wrote he and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein determined there was insufficient evidence to support an obstruction charge.

For Republicans, Barr’s letter put to rest all lingering questions. For Democrats, it just raised new ones. Lawmakers on both sides are already girding for new battles over the public release of Mueller’s full report and possible congressional testimony by Barr and Mueller.

Republican strategist Ford O’Connell said Democrats are “grasping beyond straws” at this point, and none of the other inquiries carry the same weight as the collusion allegations. However, he doubts the president’s critics will back down.

“We’ve been doing this for 675 days,” O’Connell said. “No one is going to have more ability to investigate these things than Mueller, but that’s not going to stop Democrats from pushing this agenda.”

Trump has already labeled Democratic subpoenas and demands for information as “presidential harassment,” and experts say they do face serious risks of looking partisan and petty as they pursue other avenues of investigation.

Read more from Stephen Loiaconi at ABC 6

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