President Donald Trump talks with reporters before boarding Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House, Friday, March 22, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

The Latest: Trump says report release 'wouldn't bother' him

March 25, 2019 - 12:43 pm

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on Congress and the special counsel's Russia investigation (all times local):

12:40 p.m.

President Donald Trump says the release of special counsel Robert Mueller's report "wouldn't bother me at all."

Trump says he's glad Mueller's investigation into Russian meddling is over and wishes it could have gone quicker. Trump says "we can never let this happen to another president again."

Asked Monday whether Mueller had acted honorably, Trump responded: "Yes, he did."

Attorney General William Barr has told Congress that Mueller found no evidence Trump or his associates conspired with Russia to influence the 2016 presidential election. Mueller did not make a determination on whether Trump obstructed justice.

Trump was asked about Mueller's report as he spoke to reporters along with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (neh-ten-YAH'-hoo).

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12:35 p.m.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team told the attorney general about three weeks ago it would not be reaching a conclusion about whether President Donald Trump obstructed justice. That's according to a Justice Department official who spoke to The Associated Press on Monday on the condition of anonymity to discuss private conversations.

The official says the news from Mueller's team to Attorney General William Barr and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein was "unexpected."

In releasing a summary of Mueller's findings on Sunday, Barr said Mueller had drawn no conclusion about whether Trump obstructed justice. Instead, his report laid out the evidence on both sides of the question.

Barr told Congress that he and Rosenstein decided there wasn't enough evidence to prove Trump had committed that crime.

— Associated Press writer Eric Tucker

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12:05 p.m.

A close ally says President Donald Trump felt a sense of relief after learning special counsel Robert Mueller's report had cleared him of conspiring with the Russian government.

South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham flew home from Florida with Trump after spending the weekend awaiting Mueller's findings. On Sunday, Attorney General William Barr told Congress Mueller did not find evidence that Trump's campaign "conspired or coordinated" with Russia during the 2016 election.

Graham says that on the flight home Trump conveyed a "sense of relief" that there was now the "legitimacy" of his presidency where there had been questions before.

Trump has declared the findings a total vindication, but Mueller reached no conclusion on whether the president obstructed justice. Barr says Mueller's report presents "evidence on both sides" of that question.

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11:45 a.m.

Sen. Lindsey Graham says President Donald Trump came out of the Russia investigation stronger. But he is warning Trump not to pardon any associates convicted during special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation.

The South Carolina Republican, who spent the weekend with Trump, told reporters on Monday that "if President Trump pardoned anybody in his orbit, it would not play well."

He's referring to figures such as Paul Manafort, Trump's former campaign chairman. Manafort has been convicted in Washington and Virginia of crimes related to years of Ukrainian political consulting work.

Mueller's report, turned over to Friday to Attorney General William Barr, did not find evidence that Trump's campaign "conspired or coordinated" with Russia to influence the 2016 presidential election. Mueller reached no conclusion on whether Trump obstructed justice.

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11:35 a.m.

The Republican chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee says his panel will "unpack the other side of the story" of special counsel Robert Mueller's probe into President Donald Trump and his campaign.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, who spent the weekend with Trump in Florida, said his committee will investigate the actions of the Justice Department in the Russia investigation, including the FBI's use of a dossier compiled by British spy Christopher Steele.

Graham spoke Monday after Attorney General William Barr reported to Congress on Mueller's findings. Barr said Mueller found no evidence that Trump or his associates conspired with Russia. Mueller did not make a determination on whether Trump obstructed justice.

Graham said he will be speaking with Barr at noon and wants him to testify before his committee.

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