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Mueller: Charging Trump 'Not an Option' We Could Consider

Mueller's first public statement will be his last
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted May 29, 2019 9:33 AM CDT
Updated May 29, 2019 10:30 AM CDT

(Newser) – Robert Mueller's two years of public silence have come to an end. In a 10-minute public statement on the investigation into Russian interference made at 11am ET Wednesday, he made what he said would be his first and last remarks on the topic. He took no questions and closed by "reiterating there were multiple, systematic efforts to interfere in our election and that allegation deserves the attention of every American," per CNN. He made clear that his office "concluded we would not reach a determination one way or the other about whether the president committed a crime," in part because it was "not an option" to charge him due to DOJ policy against charging a sitting president, Bloomberg notes. But he added that "if we had had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so." More on what Mueller said and how it's being received:

  • He also made clear that "any testimony from [our] office would not go beyond our report. ... We chose those words carefully and the work speaks for itself," and that he would not provide information beyond what has already been made public in any appearance before Congress: "Beyond what I've said here today and what is contained in my written report, I do not believe it is appropriate for me to speak further."

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  • In a piece titled "Mueller, in First Comments on Russia Inquiry, Declines to Clear Trump," the New York Times notes that in explaining the DOJ's policy as it relates to charging a president, he did note the Constitution allows for another process, in what the paper writes was "a clear reference to the ability of Congress to begin impeachment proceedings."
  • House Judiciary Chair Jerry Nadler picked up that thread, tweeting, "Given that Special Counsel Mueller was unable to pursue criminal charges against the President, it falls to Congress to respond to the crimes, lies and other wrongdoing of President Trump—and we will do so. No one, not even the President of the United States, is above the law."
  • He wasn't alone. The Hill reports Sen. Cory Booker called on Congress to move forward with impeachment. He tweeted in three parts, "Robert Mueller's statement makes it clear: Congress has a legal and moral obligation to begin impeachment proceedings immediately. I've been asking for Mueller's testimony—today he made his views clear. This Administration has continued to stonewall Congress's oversight. Beginning impeachment proceedings is the only path forward."
  • The president sees only an end, not a beginning, tweeting, "Nothing changes from the Mueller Report. There was insufficient evidence and therefore, in our Country, a person is innocent. The case is closed! Thank you."
(Read more Robert Mueller stories.)

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