It's Friday, April 19, 2019. Let's start here ... with a very special (counsel) episode.
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1. The case for obstruction
Twenty-two months and 448 pages later, the special counsel's report shows 11 instances of possible obstruction of justice and details how President Donald Trump sought to use top White House staffers, aides and the Justice Department to impede the Russia investigation.
"The only thing that ended up protecting the president there," ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos says on today's podcast, "was the fact that they didn't follow through on his direct orders. Had they, we might've even had a much more stark conclusion from Robert Mueller in this report."
Mueller stopped short of clearing the president.
"If we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the President clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state," Mueller wrote. "Based on the facts and the applicable legal standards, however, we are unable to reach that judgment."
Mueller didn't take a position on any potential obstruction because he was limited by a Department of Justice rule that a sitting president can't be indicted, ABC News Legal Analyst Kate Shaw explains on "Start Here."
"He was never going to go there," Shaw tells us. "But the fact that he didn't go there is not some big victory for the president. That was never an option, as special counsel Mueller understood."
2. 'No collusion'
After the report was released on Thursday, the president said he was having a "good day" at an event for veterans at the White House, adding, "It's called no collusion, no obstruction."
"I'm having a good day, too! It was called no collusion, no obstruction," Pres. Trump said following the release of the Mueller report.— ABC News (@ABC) April 18, 2019
In the report, Mueller says he did not clear Pres. Trump on obstruction of justice. https://t.co/NN1BE4y1ND pic.twitter.com/UIVX8MjoFV
Many of the special counsel's findings were linked to Russia's interference in the 2016 presidential election and whether the Trump campaign colluded. Mueller wrote that his team "identified numerous links between the Russian government and the Trump campaign," but "did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities."
The Trump campaign may have been communicating with Russians, according to the special counsel, but contact isn't collusion, ABC News Senior Investigative Producer Matthew Mosk tells "Start Here."
"There was certainly plenty of contact, plenty of back and forth, but nothing criminal," he says. "What would've made it criminal would've been material support sought by the Trump campaign from the Russians and accepted by the Trump campaign."
3. So ... now what?
With the report out, Republicans are saying it's time to move on, but Democrats are arguing Mueller's findings are far more damning than what Attorney General William Barr summarized a few weeks ago.
"The Mueller report outlines disturbing evidence that President Trump engaged in obstruction of justice and other misconduct," House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., said on Thursday.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler says AG Barr "appears to have shown an unsettling willingness to undermine his own department in order to protect President Trump." https://t.co/0xPU1gXFqU pic.twitter.com/nAZ12iON3H— ABC News (@ABC) April 18, 2019
House Democrats have also asked the special counsel to testify next month and have plans to subpoena Mueller's unredacted report. The special counsel's office declined to comment on whether Mueller would accept an invitation to appear on Capitol Hill.
If Mueller decides to testify, Stephanopoulos tells "Start Here," it'll be "the next huge event" in this saga: "I think he's going to face some pretty tough questions on why he didn't reach a final decision. And how he handles those questions before Congress, assuming he does indeed testify, I think will determine whether the congressional inquiries actually gain momentum."
If you'd like to take a deep dive into full report, we have all 448 pages available right here.
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Yesterday's show, in case you missed it:
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Doff your cap:
Missy Mendo was a student at Columbine two decades ago.
"I'm a new mom," she tells ABC News' Emily Shapiro, "and I think about my baby's first day of school, which terrifies me."
Mendo, after working through her own trauma, is helping others who've survived mass shootings connect and form support networks.
"We sympathize with Parkland because we understand what they're going through. We've gone through it," Mendo says. "These kids need help for the long run. It's the saddest thing in the world."