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December 20, 2018

Rudy Giuliani always knows how to clarify a confusing situation.

President Trump's attorney told CNBC on Thursday that he has an even better idea than Trump's proposed border wall. Why not just beef up border security?

"I don't see the magic in a wall, as long as there's some form of improved barrier that picks up penetration," he said. A physical wall might not be the best strategy, he suggested, contrary to what Trump has been saying for years.

"I could build a wall for him with long-range cameras and security," continued Giuliani. "He needs something. I think he'd compromise if he got most of what he wanted." A compromise is exactly what lawmakers are looking for as an imminent government shutdown hinges on whether Trump will accept a federal spending bill that doesn't include $5 billion for a border wall.

Giuliani's offer to improve security with amped up technology and general funding was pretty far from on-message — Democrats have offered exactly that, suggesting around $1.6 billion could go toward increased border security, instead of a wall. Trump's attorney clarified that he hadn't conferred with the president and was speaking for himself. He did not comment on whether his security firm, Giuliani Security & Safety, would be willing to construct Trump's newly-conceived "steel slats." Read more at CNBC. Summer Meza

5:08 p.m.

President Trump declared victory on Sunday over the findings of Special Counsel Robert Muller's investigation into 2016 election interference, which he called an "illegal takedown."

Trump spoke with reporters after Attorney General William Barr told Congress that Mueller did not find that Trump or his associates conspired with Russia to influence the election. Mueller did not reach a conclusion about whether the president obstructed justice, saying the investigation did not exonerate Trump of this crime. Barr said that he and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein concluded there was insufficient evidence.

Trump called the investigation a "complete and total exoneration," saying that "it's a shame that our country had to go through this" and that "it's a shame that your president had to go through this." He also called the investigation an "illegal takedown that failed" and said that now "hopefully somebody is going to be looking at the other side." Watch Trump's first comments on the Mueller report below. Brendan Morrow

5:00 p.m.

House Judiciary Chair Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) isn't completely convinced of President Trump's self-described exoneration.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller delivered his investigation of the Trump campaign's conduct surrounding Russian election interference to Attorney General Barr on Friday. On Sunday, Barr shared preliminary conclusions from the report with congressional Judiciary Committees, notably saying that Mueller's report "did not find that the Trump campaign or anyone associated with it conspired or coordinated with Russia in its efforts to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election."

Still, Barr conceded that Trump "may have acted to obstruct justice," as Nadler put it in a series of tweets after receiving the letter. And while Barr said there wasn't enough evidence to charge Trump on that crime, Nadler's tweets implied that he'd like Barr to take a bit more time before drawing that conclusion, since Barr said he's still reviewing Mueller's report. Nadler also pledged to call Barr to testify before his committee "in the near future."

Read what's in Barr's letter to Congress here. Kathryn Krawczyk

4:50 p.m.

There has been a lot of uncertainty as to just how much of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into the Trump campaign's conduct amid Russian election interference would be made available to Congress and the public. That still remains unclear after Attorney General William Barr sent a letter to Congress briefing them on the "principle conclusions" of Mueller's investigation.

However, Barr did say that he intends to release as much of the report as possible, CNN reports.

He also said that Mueller will be involved in redaction efforts, particularly in terms of removing secret jury testimony, as well as material that is pertinent to ongoing investigations that have branched off from Mueller's initial investigation.

Barr wrote that once that process is complete he will "move forward expeditiously in determining" what can officially be revealed. Tim O'Donnell

4:33 p.m.

The White House on Sunday called Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report on Russian election interference a "total and complete exoneration" of President Trump.

Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders reached this conclusion in a statement, saying that Mueller "did not find any collusion and did not find any obstruction."

Mueller's report did not find that Trump's campaign conspired with Russia to influence the 2016 election, according to Attorney General William Barr, although it did not make a determination on whether he obstructed justice. Barr quotes Mueller as saying that "while this report does not conclude that the president committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him." Barr says that he and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein concluded that there is not sufficient evidence to show Trump obstructed justice.

Trump's lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, similarly told CNN on Sunday that the report is a "complete exoneration" of Trump. Brendan Morrow

4:17 p.m.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) on Sunday celebrated the news that Special Counsel Robert Mueller did not conclude President Trump or his associates conspired with Russia to influence the 2016 election.

Graham, a close ally of Trump, in a statement released after Attorney General William Barr's summary of the Mueller report said this is a "great day for President Trump and his team," adding that the report shows there was "no collusion and no obstruction," per Bloomberg News. Graham also said that "the cloud hanging over President Trump has been removed by this report."

Barr's report said that Mueller's investigation "did not find that the Trump campaign or anyone associated with it conspired or coordinated with Russia in its efforts to influence the 2016 US Presidential Election." It did not reach a conclusion about whether Trump obstructed justice. Brendan Morrow

4:05 p.m.

Attorney General William Barr said he's still reviewing Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report on the investigation into whether the Trump presidential campaign colluded with Russian election interference in 2016. But he has outlined the principal conclusions of the investigation in a letter to Congress.

"I believe that it is in the public interest to describe the report and summarize the principal conclusions reached by the Special Counsel," he wrote in the letter.

Read Barr's letter to Congress below or on the House Judiciary Committee's website. Tim O'Donnell

4:02 p.m.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller didn't conclude in his report that President Trump committed a crime or coordinated with Russia to influence the 2016 election, Attorney General William Barr told Congress on Sunday.

Barr on Sunday delivered his memo to Congress describing the principal conclusions from Mueller's 22-month investigation into Russian election interference. It says that Mueller's report "did not find that the Trump campaign or anyone associated with it conspired or coordinated with Russia in its efforts to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election," CNN reports.

Barr's report also says that Mueller did not reach a conclusion about whether Trump obstructed justice, which "leaves it to the attorney general to determine whether the conduct described in the report constitutes a crime." Therefore, Mueller writes that "while this report does not conclude that the president committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him."

Barr's memo to Congress was four pages long and contained his own summary of what Mueller concluded along with quotes from the report. Democrats and Republicans have both called for the full report to be released. Brendan Morrow

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