Special Counsel Mueller Says Charging Trump Was ‘Not an Option’

Yuri Gripas/File Photo/Reuters

Last updated 5/29/2019 at 11:47 a.m. ET.

U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller said on Wednesday his investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election was never going to end with criminal charges against President Trump because of Justice Department policy and that he would give no more information than was already published in his report.

Mueller, in his first public comments since starting the investigation in May 2017, also addressed whether there were efforts to obstruct his investigation, saying, “After that investigation, if we had had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime we would have said so. We did not however make a determination as to whether the president did commit a crime.”

Muller said his 448-page report spoke for itself.

“Beyond what I’ve said here today and what is contained in our written work, I do not believe it is appropriate for me to speak further,” Mueller said in a brief press appearance at the Justice Department’s headquarters.

He did not take questions.

Mueller said Justice Department policy prohibited him from bringing charges against a sitting president.

“Charging the president with a crime was … not an option we could consider,” Mueller told reporters as he announced his resignation from the Justice Department. “We concluded that we would not reach a determination one way or the other about whether the president committed a crime.”

A redacted version of Mueller’s report was published in April, concluding the campaign of President Donald Trump did not engage in a criminal conspiracy with Moscow to win the White House. Mueller declined to make a judgment on whether Trump obstructed justice, although the report outlined 10 instances in which Trump tried to impede the investigation.

Trump has said the two-year investigation exonerated him after repeatedly denouncing it as a witch hunt. The investigation ensnared dozens of people, including several top Trump advisers and a series of Russian nationals and companies.

Among them are his former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, who is serving 7 1/2 years in prison for financial crimes and lobbying violations, and his former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, who recently began a three-year sentence for campaign-finance violations and lying to Congress.

Since the report’s release, Democratic lawmakers have tried without success to get the full report and underlying evidence. The House Judiciary Committee also is negotiating for Mueller to testify at a hearing.

Trump has said Mueller should not testify before Congress but that the final decision was up to Attorney General William Barr. Democrats have denounced Barr, saying he misrepresented the special counsel’s findings.

Mueller appeared to have misgivings at one point as well, complaining to Barr in March that he had initially disclosed his main findings in an incomplete way that caused public confusion. In congressional testimony in April, Barr dismissed Mueller’s concerns as “a bit snitty.”

Barr now is leading a review of the origins of the Russia investigation in what is the third known inquiry into the FBI’s handling of the matter. Trump harbors suspicions that the Democratic administration of President Barack Obama started the investigation in 2016 to undermine his presidency.

(Additional reporting by Makini Brice and Mark Hosenball; Editing by Tim Ahmann and Bill Trott)

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Kay
Member

Remember this is Comeys buddy who appointed him in the first place. He is upset with the investigation into the investigation and came out to take revenge on Trump. His team of Clinton fans did a hit job on Trump with not enough evidence to charge him.
The DOJ better get the show on the road to show the nation what Comey and friends did during the election and how they started Meullers Investigation.

Judy Montgomery Chartrand
Member

It’s purpose was to take the heat off of Hillary Clinton. It’s time to turn the tables. I’m sure an investigation of Hillary won’t be so favorable.

Ann Brizzee
Guest
Ann Brizzee

Robert Mueller is a liar and has been in charge of leading the silent coup.
The truth always comes out in the end.
I trust Mueller and all of his ilk will be found out to be who they are.
Mueller has now divided the county even more than it already is.
I pray God will help end all of this soon.

Jabbers99
Member

Let me translate Mueller’s statement from the Washingtonese – “The deep state coup against President Trump has failed”.

Jabbers99
Member

Evidence is a bitch ain’t it Mueller?

Friend
Member

Time to stop.this nonsense and let the President get on with doing what is best for America

Brad
Member

This whole deal with Mueller is a set-up………watch and see!? Don’t trust what any of them do or say any longer cause there is ALWAYS something else motivating their actions that benefit’s them! They are unified amongst themselves, they are mean and nasty, ruthless, lawless individuals and we are all doomed…….unless the Patriots rise to the challenge and stand up to all this crap!

Bonnie Keever
Member

This is a joke 30 million dollars of tax payers money for bs and using the DOJ as a excuse they found nothing to charge but they want to accuse with no back up go a head Democrats impeach you will pay the price

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