Mueller report: What we know about obstruction of justice, collusion

With the public release of the special counsel's highly anticipated and redacted report, pundits and politicians are parsing its findings, analyzing whether the report exonerates Trump and more.
8:25 | 04/19/19

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Transcript for Mueller report: What we know about obstruction of justice, collusion
A defiant, unapologetic president trump arrived in Florida tonight to a crowd of supporters who clearly believe as the president declared earlier today, that the Mueller report represents vindication. I'm having a good day, too. It was called no collusion, no obstruction. Reporter: But the 448-page report paints a far more complex and potentially damaging picture. While special counsel Robert Mueller did conclude that no one from the trump campaign criminally coordinated or conspired with the Russians during the 2016 election, the report did not clear the president of obstruction of justice. Instead, painting in pains taking detail an unflattering picture of a president who relentlessly sought to use top white house staffers, political aides and the justice department itself to quote curtail the investigation. This report demonstrates that many stories the president said were fake news were actually 100% true, and that's not some reporter making it up. That's his white house counsel telling reporters, that things that he was denying were true. So I think he's going to live with a bit of damage to his credibility. Reporter: In the report, Mueller laying out 11 instances of possible obstruction of justice. The report vividly describes the moment in the oval office when then attorney general Jeff sessions informed trump a special counsel had been appointed. The president slumped back in his chair and said oh, my god, this is terrible, this is the end of my presidency, I'm blanked. How could you let this happen, Jeff? There are a lot of ugly things in there about how president trump tried to kill this investigation. Reporter: He ordered don mcgahn to have Mueller fired. The president called mcgahn at home and directed him to call the acting attorney general, rod Rosenstein and say that the counsel had conflicts of interest and needed to be removed. He said Mueller has to go, call me back when you do it. Mcgahn refused, deciding to resign rather than trigger what he regarded as a potential Saturday night massacre. Ultimately, he stayed on for over a year. It could have been much worse for the president if he had been allowed to follow his own instincts. He was stopped from stopping it. He should be very grateful for that. Reporter: Shortly after I ordered his top lawyer to oust Mueller, the president was asked about it and flatly denied it. Mr. President you thought about or considered leading to the dismissal of the special counsel. I haven't given it any thought, no, I'm not dismissing anybody. Reporter: But the report reveals he was determined to do just that. So the picture is of a president furious about the investigation, who can't get his own aides to do his bidding, because they thought it was illegal. Reporter: The president was furious after attorney general Jeff sessions recused himself from investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election. I have now decided to recuse myself. Very disappointed with the attorney general. Reporter: According to the report, sessions told investigators the president asked him to unrecuse himself, but he would not. It's a terrible witch-hunt. It's a witch-hunt. It's a rigged witch hunt. Reporter: Since the beginning, trump railed viciously against the special counsel. There was no collusion between the trump campaign and the Russian people. There was no collusion. There's been no collusion. There's been no obstruction. Reporter: But the investigation did produce real in all, there were 37 indictments in the Mueller probe, including several of the president's closest aides, some of whom pled guilty. The bottom line for most Americans is whether or not the conduct described in this report by the president is criminal or impeachable. It's revealing. It reveals his character as president. How he sees the office, how he exercises the power. Reporter: Robert Mueller was appointed to investigate Russian interference in the 2016 election, and while the reporter shows that team trump did not conspire with the Russians, the investigation unveiled numerous links between the campaign and the Russian government. Offers of assistance to the campaign, invitations for candidate trump and Putin to meet in person. The campaign relished messages that Vladimir Putin's forces were using to try to sway the election and the Russians knew Russia, if you're listening, I hope you're able to find the 30,000 e-mails that are missing. Reporter: According to Mueller, the Russian intelligence service, the gru, was listening. Within approximately five hours of trump's statement, gru officers targeted for the first time Clinton's personal office. Trump said publicly on many occasions, we want to see those e-mails. And in fact, soon after he said it the first time we sought saw the e-mails. Reporter: He worked to president the fake news Russia had posted on social media, but Mueller concluded that there was no evidence that these people knew they were promoting Vladimir Putin's handiwork. On Twitter tonight, the president again lashing out against the special counsel tweeting I had the right to end the whole witch hunt if I wanted. I right to use executive privilege, I didn't. There is a sense of relief the investigation is finally over, that the big picture conclusion on Russian collusion was without any evidence. But there is a lot in this report that will lead to a whole new phase of this investigation, now done by hostile Democrats on capitol hill. Reporter: Those Democrats are asking Robert Mueller to come to the hill to testify in person. And they are voicing their displeasure with president trump's hand-picked attorney general William Barr whose four-page summary released three weeks ago is now being criticized as an attempt to define the story in the president's favor. The attorney general did a grave misservice to the country by misrepresenting several parts of the mule irreport. Democrats are fed up with the way the attorney general has handled the special counsel's report and are demanding to hear from Mueller himself. This becomes a complicated political judgment for Democrats. They can push to see the whole report. They can haul Mueller and Barr to capitol hill. Reporter: Whether he speaks publicly, we have not heard the last of him. The special counsel investigation has spawned 14 other criminal investigations. Mueller and his team are saying we believe he probably obstructed justice here, but we can't prosecute a sitting president, and we can't even say that in the report, because it would be unfair to him since he can't respond. Reporter: Sometimes lost in all the rapid fire developments involving the Mueller probe, the fact that Russia did succeed if interfering in an American presidential election. We know from every source now, the Russians interfered in an American election. That should be concerning to everyone. Reporter: How will today's developments affect president trump's political standing in this deeply-divided country? People who hate Donald Trump found lots of new reasons to hate him. People who love Donald Trump kind of expected a lot of what was in this. It is a day that feels climactic and anticlimactic at the same time. I think we learned today that an independent counsel was allowed to conduct his work and the work of the independent counsel is something that I think everybody can feel good about. And one final note here. Gma will have the very latest on the Mueller report first thing tomorrow morning.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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