Mueller Report: Did Trump commit conspiracy? No. But collusion? Maybe.

The World
US President Donald Trump walks to board Air Force One as he travesl to Florida for Easter weekend, at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland, April 18, 2019.

US President Donald Trump walks to board Air Force One as he travesl to Florida for Easter weekend, at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland, April 18, 2019.

Al Drago/Reuters

Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller’s office uncovered “evidence of numerous links” between officials working on Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and individuals “having or claiming ties to the Russian government,” according to a 448-page, partially redacted report the Justice Department made public Thursday.

But did it find evidence of collusion?

That depends on your definition of the term. “No collusion” has become Trump’s common refrain throughout the course of Mueller’s two-year investigation — and Thursday he tweeted a Game of Thrones meme with those words. Attorney General William Barr invoked the term again in a press conference prior to the report's release, saying the investigation found “no underlying collusion with Russia” by the Trump campaign.

Collusion is not a legal concept, so to say “no collusion” doesn’t mean much, legally speaking. In its investigation, the Mueller team focused on “conspiracy” — a specific term in federal criminal law defined as an agreement between two or more people to commit an offense and then act in support of that agreement.

A cardboard cutout of US Attorney General William Barr is seen as protesters hold signs which read "Barr Coverup," following the release of the Mueller report on President Donald Trump at the White House in Washington, DC, April 18, 2019.

A cardboard cutout of US Attorney General William Barr is seen as protesters hold signs which read "Barr Coverup," following the release of the Mueller report on President Donald Trump at the White House in Washington, DC, April 18, 2019.

Credit:

Carlos Barria/Reuters

To analyze liability for criminal conspiracy, Mueller’s office sought evidence of coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia’s efforts to interfere with the 2016 US presidential election.