The special counsel also took over an FBI investigation on whether President Trump had committed obstruction of justice, which began within eight days after Trump's dismissal of FBI Director James Comey. CNN reported in December 2018 that then-acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe started the investigation based on Comey's firing—which had been recommended in writing by Rosenstein in what became known as the Comey memo—and also Comey's allegation that Trump had asked him to stop investigating Trump's former national security adviser Michael Flynn. In February 2019, McCabe, since fired from the FBI, confirmed he launched the obstruction of justice investigation for those reasons, and gave additional reasons such as Trump's multiple depictions of the investigation into Trump associates and Russia as a "witch hunt", as well as Trump allegedly telling Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to mention the Russia probe in Rosenstein's memo to recommend firing Comey, and Trump's comments to the Russian ambassador and NBC relating Comey's firing to the Russia probe.
Within weeks of the commencement of the Yemen's civil war, AQAP had exploited the chaos to capture the south-eastern port city of Mukalla, along with nearby military, transport, and economic infrastructure. A series of prison breaks by al-Qaeda—they emptied Mukalla's jail of 300 prisoners and emptied 1,200 inmates in June 2015 from the central prison in Taiz—released jailed jihadists of all ranks. Reports indicate that Yemen's prisons had, in preceding years, reportedly become "de facto jihadi academies", as veteran militants were placed in cells alongside young, regular criminals.More Info
King Salman replaced his half-brother Muqrin as crown prince with Muhammad bin Nayef and named his son Mohammed bin Salman as defence minister, and then-Ambassador to the United States Adel al-Jubeir as foreign minister. Some reports linked the cabinet reshuffle to the war. At least one political analyst suggested that Muqrin was not supportive of the military intervention, and that this cost him his position. Prince Muqrin's Yemeni Lineage was pointed out as another possible cause.More Info
In June 2016, Ban Ki-moon removed a Saudi-led coalition from a list of children's rights violators, saying that Saudi Arabia threatened to cut Palestinian aid and funds to other UN programs if coalition was not removed from blacklist for killing children in Yemen. According to one source, there was also a threat of "clerics in Riyadh meeting to issue a fatwa against the UN, declaring it anti-Muslim, which would mean no contacts of OIC members, no relations, contributions, support, to any UN projects, programs".More Info
On potential obstruction of justice by President Trump, the investigation "does not conclude that the President committed a crime", as investigators would not indict a sitting president per an Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) opinion, and would not accuse him of a crime when he cannot clear his name in court. However, the investigation "also does not exonerate" Trump, finding both public and private actions "by the President that were capable of exerting undue influence over law enforcement investigations". Ten episodes of potential obstruction by the president were described. The report states that Congress can decide whether Trump obstructed justice, and has the authority to take action against him. Attorney General Barr and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who had authorized the Mueller probe, decided on March 24, 2019, that the evidence was insufficient to establish a finding of obstruction of justice. Upon his resignation on May 29, 2019, Mueller stated that: "the Constitution requires a process other than the criminal justice system to formally accuse a sitting president of wrongdoing". In July 2019, Mueller testified to Congress that a president could be charged with obstruction of justice (or other crimes) after he left office.More Info
The investigation was officially concluded on March 22, 2019, with the Mueller Report submitted to Attorney General William Barr. Barr had been critical of the investigation before he became Attorney General. A redacted version of the report was released to the public on April 18, 2019. The report concluded that the Internet Research Agency's social media campaign supported Trump's presidential candidacy while attacking Clinton's, and Russian intelligence hacked and released damaging material from the Clinton campaign and various Democratic Party organizations. The investigation "identified numerous links between the Russian government and the Trump campaign", and determined that the Trump campaign "expected it would benefit electorally" from Russian hacking efforts. However, ultimately "the investigation did not establish that members of the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities". The evidence was not necessarily complete due to encrypted, deleted, or unsaved communications as well as false, incomplete, or declined testimony. Mueller later said that the investigation's conclusion on Russian interference "deserves the attention of every American".More Info
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