Special Counsel Robert Mueller: “The Report is my Testimony”

President Donald Trump delivers an address to a joint session of Congress on Tuesday, February 28, 2017, at the U.S. Capitol. This is the President's first Address to Congress of his presidency.

President Donald Trump delivers an address to a joint session of Congress on Tuesday, February 28, 2017, at the U.S. Capitol. This is the President's first Address to Congress of his presidency. Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead

On Wednesday morning special counsel Robert Mueller gave his first public comments on the Russia investigation since taking on the task two years ago. In his short statement that he gave, he said that it was unnecessary for him to testify before Congress and that although President Trump was not charged with obstruction, he was also not cleared of wrongdoing.

After the Investigation

Mueller made his first public comments on the Mueller investigation since he was appointed as special counsel two years ago saying that “charging the president with a crime was an option we could not consider.” Because of a Justice Department policy which is against prosecuting a sitting president, Mueller and his office did not determine whether Trump had committed a crime.

Although Justice Department policy “clearly permits the investigation of a sitting president because it is important to preserve evidence while memories are fresh and documents are available,” Mueller said. “Among other things, the evidence could be used if there were co-conspirators who could now be charged.”

“If we had confidence that the President clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so,” [1] Mueller said. “We did not however make a determination as to whether the President did commit a crime.”

In his ten minute statement, Mueller went on to say that he saw no reason to testify before Congress, saying that it wasn’t “appropriate” and that his report was his testimony. “I hope and expect this will be the only time I will speak to you in this manner,” Mueller said, making clear his plans to not testify before Congress.

“It’s important the office’s written work speaks for itself,” Mueller said, referring to the report which had been given to Attorney General William Barr in March, “The report is my testimony.”

Mueller also announced that he was resigning from the Justice Department and “we are formally closing the special counsel’s office.”

Up to Congress

House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler said in a statement on Wednesday that it was now Congress’ turn to take action on Mueller’s findings. “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,” Nadler said. “No one, not even the President of the United States, is above the law.” [2]

“Although Department of Justice policy prevented the special counsel from bringing criminal charges against the president,” Nadler continued, “the special counsel has clearly demonstrated that President Trump is lying about the special counsel’s findings, lying about the testimony of key witnesses in the special counsel’s report, and is lying in saying that the special counsel found no obstruction and no collusion.” [3]


Notes:

  1. ^Sandler, Rachel. “Mueller: If They Had Been Sure Trump Committed No Crimes, ‘We Would Have Said So’.” Forbes, 29 May. 2019, www.forbes.com/sites/rachelsandler/2019/05/29/mueller-charging-the-president-with-a-crime-was-an-option-we-could-not-consider/#168e0e233928. (go back↩)
  2. ^Jeremy Herb, Katelyn Polantz and Laura Jarrett. “Mueller says charging Trump not an option special counsel could consider.” CNN, 29 May. 2019, www.cnn.com/2019/05/29/politics/robert-mueller-special-counsel-investigation/index.html. (go back↩)
  3. ^Jansen, Bart and Kevin Johnson. “Robert Mueller, in first public remarks, says charging Trump was ‘not an option we could consider‘.” USA TODAY, 29 May. 2019, www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2019/05/29/robert-mueller-speak-russia-investigation-and-2016-election/1269060001. (go back↩)

Leave a Reply

*