Mueller says Charging Trump not an Option Special Counsel Could Consider

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Special counsel Robert Mueller said in a rare and remarkable public statement Wednesday that charging President Donald Trump was not an option his office could consider.

Mueller, speaking from the Justice Department, said he’s closing the special counsel’s office and returning to private life.

“If we had confidence the President clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so,” Mueller said.

Mueller also said that he does not intend to testify before Congress, as House Democrats have been pressing him to do. The special counsel said he decided himself against testifying, adding that any testimony would not go beyond the report.

“I hope and expect this will be the only time I will speak to you in this manner,” he said.

“It’s important the office’s written work speaks for itself,” Mueller said about his report, which was delivered in March to Attorney General William Barr.

The statement was delivered amid political disputes about the findings of Mueller’s investigation, particularly regarding whether Trump obstructed justice.

The Justice Department released a redacted version of the special counsel’s report last month. The report detailed numerous cases in which Trump asked his aides to take actions that would have obstructed the investigation, but stated they were unsuccessful because the aides refused his orders.

The report also says that the investigation into possible collusion found that members of the Trump campaign knew they would benefit from Russia’s illegal actions to influence the election, but didn’t take criminal steps to help.

RELATED: Read and search the full Mueller report

Charging Trump was “not an option” because Justice Department regulations prohibit charging a sitting president with a crime, Mueller said. His office was “bound by that policy.”

“It would be unfair to potentially accuse somebody of a crime when there can be no court resolution of an actual charge,” he said.

Mueller highlighted how the “Constitution requires a process other than” the criminal justice system to hold officeholders accountable, a clear signal that his obstruction investigation into Trump may be picked up by Congress.

Mueller called the subject of his investigation “of paramount importance,” and said that obstructing an investigation “strikes at the core of the government’s effort to find the truth and hold wrongdoers accountable.”

The White House got a heads up Tuesday night that Mueller would likely deliver a statement on Wednesday about the Mueller investigation, according to a senior administration official.

Barr also was given advance notice, according to a source familiar with the plans. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-New York, was also notified, a committee spokesman said.

Trump has claimed ‘complete and total exoneration’

Trump, citing a letter from Barr to Congress about Mueller’s conclusions, has said the investigation provided a “complete and total exoneration.”

But Mueller’s report only said the investigation “did not establish that members of the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government,” and Mueller expressed concerns in a letter to Barr that the attorney general’s letter summarizing his findings didn’t fully capture his 448-page report, a source with knowledge of the letter has told CNN.

Trump has wavered publicly in recent weeks on the prospect of Mueller’s testimony before Congress as his administration has clashed sharply with lawmakers over demands for documents and testimony.

Asked earlier in May, the President said, “I don’t know. That’s up to our attorney general, who I think has done a fantastic job.”

Days later, Trump reversed course and said Mueller “should not testify” as the President resurfaced his regular complaints about the Mueller investigation, before switching back again and saying the decision would be up to “our very great attorney general.”

Barr recently told The Wall Street Journal that he would not prevent Mueller from testifying before Congress.

18 comments

  • not_pennysltucky (@ds18301)

    The sad part of this is that you folks look at this like it’s a high school football game — Dems vs GOP. Time to grow up. He has destroyed the gravitas of the Office of President. He has “drained the swamp” to make a cesspool of our government filling it with billionaire lobbyists who could care less about you. He has made us the laughing stock of the world. He is a socialist (just gave 16 billion of your money in welfare to corporate farmers after the 12 billion last year to cover losses from his idiotic trade war — he knows nothing about economics) He just gave billions in weapons to Saudi Arabia — by chance do you remember 9/11??? He has driven this country to the point of moral bankruptcy. Sadly, it is clear that what drives his remaining supporters is the “thumbs up” he (and his official State TV Network: Fox) gives to fear and r@cism — a drug more addictive to so many here than opioids.

    • yabbadabbadude

      I’d much rather see President Trump give the money to American farmers that actually work to feed us, instead of foreign aid to decrepit craphole countries that spit in our face anyway, or to welfare leeches and illegals that are destroying our economy from within and breaking the spirit of hard-working American citizens that are being bled nearly dry of their earnings by having to support them. (Calling him a socialist is a bald-faced lie, as you’re trying to cover for your own ideology, as plainly proven by the ‘freshman class’ of Representatives in the House and also by most of the potential 2020 candidates.) Another lie you’ve told is we’ve “given” weapons to Saudi Arabia – WRONG. They were SOLD to them as they want to protect themselves from Iran. (I’m so glad that you brought up 9/11. Guess who was head of the FBI when the terrorists were still in flight school in Florida? Robert Mueller. He was still in office there when they ignored TWO warnings from the Russians about the Tsaranev brothers that eventually bombed the Boston Marathon. Mueller was nothing more than a political hack appointed by another political hack/ globalist, George W. Bush.) As far as the “moral bankruptcy” that’s going on in America, you can look to the democrats for their late-term-partial-birth abortions, putting “transgenders” (mentally ill people) in bathrooms and locker rooms with normal, heterosexual children, and drag queens reading to even more children in some of our public libraries (I could go on too). I know lefties like you absolutely hate Fox News…it’s like showing a Crucifix to a vampire.

  • Chris Thorne

    Trump’s a crimibal, plain and simple. He needs to be taken out of office and charged for treason, along with his cronies and family. He sides with dictators like lil Kim, his interests are not American. The sooner that turd is is in prison the better.

  • scarolina1

    This was the Dems game all the while was to have him give testimony without the Republicans given the opportunity to impeach his statements. All planned by the dirty Dem SNAKES????🤔

  • peach671

    This is MAGA country. DemoncRATS continue to fail and fumble on real issues. Attorney General Barr to investigate the investigators. Barack Hussein Osama and crooked hilLIEry for prison 2020.

  • peach671

    DemocRATS have two old rich white guys as their forerunner masters, Creepy/touchcy/feely Uncle joe biden and Crazy Colonel Freebie Bernie Sanders. How ironic. LMFAO@u DemocRATS.

  • peach671

    No collusion. No obstruction. Political suicide for DemocRATS to chase impeachment. Plus, impeachment will die in the Senate. DemocRATS need to cut their losses and start addressing the issues for American. Either way, President Donald John Trump,OUR duly elected 45th President of the United States of America shall win in 2020. Best economy for all. Record stock market. Massive regulating. Destroying Barack Hussein Osama’s FAILED legacy and shadow government, too. KAG, FTW and FTdemocRATS.

  • Lisa Marshinski

    The dems already said they aren’t dropping this impeachment stuff until the election. They’re just scared sh**less because of the declassification of all this Clapper, Page, Comey, Brennan, Strock, Clinton and right down to Obama crap they’ve been doing for years. Look up HAMR.

  • Lisa Marshinski

    The dems already said they’re not dropping the impeachment crap until the election. They’re scared sh**less because of the unclassification of this Strock, Page, Clapper, Brennan, Comey, Clinton and right down to Obama crap they’ve been doing for yrs. Look up HAMR.

  • Denny DiOrio

    How many people could have been fed in the last 2 years with $30,000,000??? Gotta love those Dems!

  • Bob Stevens

    The leftist witch hunt is just as bad as the Q crap… word things just right when there’s nothing there so the followers go “look! see? right there!”
    Enough wasting tax payer money on this charade. If Russia is our evil enemy why would they want to MAGA?! But I guess in the eyes of the left, making America great is to burn it to the ground economically and morally, strip away everyone rights and enslave them under tax and tyranny. Though I guess the rights plan is to build up an economic bubble without real free market, force religious morality, strip away rights and enslave them under tax and tyranny.
    How about more freedom and less government.

  • Rusty Knyffe

    So, after nearly 3 years of time, millions of dollars in resources, and tying up FBI and other Federal agencies in this ridiculous pursuit, the report came back and some people really didn’t want to accept the findings.

    Here’s how it is: I don’t particularly “like” our President. He’s brash, he’s ill-mannered, he’s ill-spoken, and he’s certainly lacking in diplomacy, absolutely. But, he has never presented anything other than what he really is, and there is this wingnut fringe that simply cannot accept the fact that nothing that the President did defies Law. Is he childish? YEAH, but that isn’t against Federal Law. Is he a womanizer? Uh…….yup, and THAT doesn’t fly in the face of Federal Law – ask Bill Clinton about that, why not?

    GIVE IT A FLIPPING REST, ALREADY!!! Get back to the business of listening to constituents and seeing to your own States’ needs instead of chasing red herrings. Sheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeesh!

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