Trump questions will remain until full Mueller report is revealed

24 March 2019, 22:46 | Updated: 25 March 2019, 11:48

The weaponisation of the Mueller report began as soon as Attorney General William Barr published his summary.

"The investigation did not establish that members of the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities."

With that line, cheers will have gone up at Mar-a-Lago in Florida, where the president was staying for the weekend.

Donald Trump was jubilant, tweeting "No Collusion. No Obstruction. Complete and Total EXONERATION. KEEP AMERICA GREAT!"

Later he told reporters the Mueller investigation "was an illegal takedown that failed".

The statements came thick and fast.

Donald Trump Jr railed at the "sick" and "twisted" media conspiracy that has overshadowed his father's presidency.

For Donald Trump and the Republicans, on the face of it, the report is a gift as they head in to the 2020 campaign - a powerful example of a deep conspiracy to uncouple Mr Trump from power.

But for the Democrats, the Mueller report represents something else entirely.

They pointed to another line in the summary, relating specifically to obstruction of justice.

It says that the special counsel did a thorough "factual investigation" into the actions of the president, and "ultimately determined not to make a traditional prosecutorial judgement".

It goes on: "The special counsel states that while this report does not conclude that the president committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him."

Attorney General Barr wrote that the decision about whether or not President Trump's behaviour had crossed the threshold of criminality was left to him.

And what was that decision?

Mr Barr wrote: "The report identifies no actions that, in our judgement, constitute obstructive conduct."

Democrats are not content to take the attorney general's word for it.

They now have an even more compelling reason to fight tooth and nail to see not only Mr Mueller's entire report, but the evidence that underpins it, so they can decide for themselves.

They will go all the way to the Supreme Court to try to make that happen, setting up an epic legal battle between the White House and Democrats in Congress.

And thus the Mueller investigation has created two parallel worlds in Washington, a place where commonly agreed upon facts are already hard to come by.

As long as the vast majority of the report remains secret, that will continue to be the case.