AP FACT CHECK: Trump falsely claims exoneration
Published 8:59 am Monday, June 18, 2018
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump came out swinging Friday, lodging a remarkable series of claims and accusations about a new watchdog report about the Justice Department’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of emails. In an impromptu press conference on the White House driveway, the president used the report to revive his complaints about the FBI and to declare himself exonerated in the ongoing Russia probe.
His claim to have been vindicated is not true.
Here’s a look at what Trump said about the latest findings and what really happened:
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TRUMP: “More importantly than anything, it totally exonerates me. There was no collusion. There was no obstruction. And if you read the report, you’ll see that.”
THE FACTS: At no point did the Justice Department inspector general’s 500-page report address whether Trump or his associates cooperated with Russia’s efforts to sway the 2016 presidential election. It also doesn’t say whether Trump tried to obstruct justice by firing James Comey as FBI director.
Those questions — collusion and Trump’s possible obstruction of justice — are still being examined by special counsel Robert Mueller, appointed last year to take over the FBI’s Russia probe after Trump fired Comey. And while Mueller has charged 20 people and three companies, he’s been silent on both points.
TRUMP: “They were plotting against my election.”
THE FACTS: The report never suggests any kind of FBI plot to keep Trump from office. What it did expose were politically biased text messages by some FBI staff who seemed upset at the prospect of Trump taking office.