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ABC News Chief WH Correspondent: Mueller Report Unexpected to Include Evidence of Collusion


The waiting is the hardest part. But for those convinced that special counsel Robert Mueller‘s forthcoming report on Russian electoral interference and alleged obstruction of justice will result in fireworks clearing the collective horizon, all those hopes may just be for naught.

At least that’s how ABC News’ longtime Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl sees things in the nation’s capital.

Appearing on ABC’s This Week on Sunday, Karl offered his run down on the state of all things Mueller during a discussion about The New York Times‘ recent bombshell report that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) began a counterintelligence investigation Trump in May of 2017 in order to determine if the 45th president had been operating “on behalf of Russia against American interests” when he fired former FBI director James Comey.

Karl, who has served as ABC’s man in D.C. since 2012, was mostly dismissive of that report’s potentially broader implications. He said:

What I am getting is that this is all building up to the Mueller report and raising expectations of a bombshell report; there have been expectations that have been building for over a year on this. But people who are closest to what Mueller has been doing, who have interacted with the special counsel, caution me that this report is almost certain to be anti-climactic.

“That if you look at what the FBI was investigating in the New York Times report,” Karl noted. “Mueller did not go anywhere with that investigation. Mueller has been writing his report in real-time through these indictments. And we have seen nothing from Mueller on the central question of: ‘Was there any coordination, collusion with the Russians in the effort to to meddle in the elections’ or ‘Was there even any knowledge on the part of the president or anybody in his campaign with what the Russians were doing?’ There are no indications of that.”

Former Bill Clinton campaign and White House press secretary George Stephanopoulos then attempted to shift the narrative back towards collusion by listing several instances of Russia-adjacent news involving Trump and members of his orbit prior to election day in 2016. To wit: (1) Donald Trump Jr.’s infamous Trump Tower meeting with Russian nationals; (2) Paul Manafort‘s alleged sharing of Trump 2016 campaign polling data with a Russian political consultant; and (3) the Trump family’s concerted attempts to build a Trump Tower in Moscow.

“How does [all] that fit into this theory?” Stephanopoulos asked.

To which Karl replied:

Well, we’ve certainly seen over and over again is people around the president first of all willing to lie to investigators and had their own dealings with Russians; had their own agendas with Russians. Manafort was trying to get paid for his work on behalf of Ukraine. Flynn had his own dealings. But it has not added to up anything of that central question again: ‘Was there anybody–was the Trump campaign aware of or coordinating with the Russians in their effort to meddle with the election?’ So far, there’s been nothing on that end. I’m led to believe don’t expect there’s going to be anything.

[image via screengrab/ABC]

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