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Trump lashes out after Russia probe, cites 'treasonous' and 'evil' acts

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Trump lashes out after Russia probe, cites 'treasonous' and 'evil' acts
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By Makini Brice and Susan Heavey

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump lashed out at his enemies on Monday, accusing unnamed people of evil actions and treason, a day after his attorney general released a summary of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s findings clearing the president’s campaign of conspiring with Russia in the 2016 U.S. election.

“We’re glad it’s over. It’s 100 percent the way it should have been,” Trump told reporters at the White House. “I wish it could have gone a lot sooner, a lot quicker.

“There are a lot of people out there that have done some very, very evil things, very bad things, I would say treasonous things against our country,” Trump added without mentioning anyone by name or citing specific actions.

Attorney General William Barr, the top U.S. law enforcement official, on Sunday released a four-page summary of the findings of Mueller’s 22-month investigation that detailed Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election, but said the special counsel had concluded that Trump’s campaign did not conspire with Moscow.

Trump indicated that he wants new investigations, although he did not specify who would conduct the probes or who should be the target.

“Those people will certainly be looked at. I’ve been looking at them for a long time,” he said. “And I’m saying, why haven’t they been looked at? They lied to Congress. Many of them. And you know who they are.

“We can never let this happen to another president again.”

Trump had repeatedly accused Mueller, a former director of the FBI, of running a “witch hunt” with a team of “thugs” and having conflicts of interest but when asked on Monday if Mueller had acted honourably, Trump said “yes.”

Senator Lindsey Graham, the Republican chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and a Trump ally, said he would ask Barr to appoint a special counsel to look into the origins of the Mueller probe.

Mueller, who submitted his confidential report on his findings to Barr on Friday, neither accused Trump of obstruction of justice in trying to impede the investigation nor exonerated him of obstruction, according to the summary. Barr said he and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who appointed Mueller, concluded the investigation’s evidence “is not sufficient to establish that the president committed an obstruction-of-justice offence.”

A fierce fight was brewing on Monday over how much of Mueller’s Russia investigation findings should be made public. Democrats are demanding a full release but a lawyer for the president said key information – such as Trump’s written responses in the inquiry – must be withheld.

The end of the Mueller inquiry and Barr’s summary handed Trump a political victory ahead of his 2020 re-election effort, but did not end the investigative pressure on the president. Democrats gave no indication of easing up on their multiple congressional investigations into Trump’s business and personal dealings.

Mueller informed top Justice Department officials three weeks ago he would not reach a conclusion on the obstruction question – an unexpected move, a department official said.

Democrats, who control the U.S. House of Representatives, have called for Mueller’s complete findings to be released to Congress and the public and vowed to call Barr – a Trump appointee who before taking the job had criticized Mueller’s obstruction investigation – to appear before lawmakers to answer questions.

(Reporting by Susan Heavey and Makini Brice; Additional reporting by Mark Hosenball, Sarah N. Lynch, Doina Chiacu and Lawrence Hurley in Washington and Tom Balmforth and Maxim Rodionov in Moscow; Writing by Will Dunham; Editing by Bill Trott)

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