President Trump appeared for his first event moments after the release of special counsel Robert Mueller's report, telling veterans he's having a "good day too" because there was "no collusion, no obstruction," a line that prompted cheers.
"This should never happen to another president again, this hoax, this should never happen to another president again. Thank you," the president said towards the top of his remarks.
But Mueller's report, which CBS News is still reviewing, isn't as clear cut. In one section, Mueller's report reads that Mr. Trump "engaged in efforts to curtail the special counsel's investigation and prevent the disclosure of evidence to it, including through public and private contacts with potential witnesses."
Mr. Trump ignored shouted questions after the event concluded Thursday morning.
The president's attorneys saw the Mueller report earlier this week, Barr confirmed in his 9:30 a.m. news conference. Barr also disclosed that, regarding the question of whether Mr. Trump obstructed justice, the report recounts ten episodes involving Mr. Trump and "discusses potential legal theories for connecting these actions to elements of an obstruction offense." Barr and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein concluded, in consultation with the Office of Legal Counsel, that the evidence was "not sufficient to establish that the President committed an obstruction-of-justice offense."
As soon as Barr's news conference ended, the president tweeted out an image of himself with a "Game of Thrones" theme insisting he has been vindicated.
Democrats are accusing Barr of protecting the president, in part because he addressed reporters before any reporters or members of Congress had a chance to see the report. Congress won't receive the redacted report until at least 11 a.m. Barr has already been under scrutiny by Democrats for his four pages of conclusions from the report, and for telling Congress he believes "spying did occur" on the Trump campaign.
Mr. Trump, in a radio interview Wednesday with WMAL's Larry O'Connor, suggested he might hold a news conference of his own. The president could also talk with reporters late Thursday afternoon, when he departs for a long Easter weekend at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.
The president told the radio station he expects "very strong things" to "come out" Thursday.
"Attorney General Barr is going to be giving a press conference," the president noted. "Maybe I'll do one after that. We'll see. But he's done. He's been a fantastic attorney general, he's grabbed it by the horn."
Mr. Trump has long claimed Mueller's report totally exonerates him, although the single quote Barr pulled from Mueller's report explicitly says the report does not exonerate the president on the matter of obstruction of justice.