Tuesday, 22 October, 2019

Charging Trump was not option, says Robert Mueller

Special counsel Robert Mueller to make statement on Russia investigation US: Robert Mueller to make first public statement on Russia probe
Patty Aguilar | 30 May, 2019, 02:14

Mueller's was a weasel statement, worthy of former Federal Bureau of Investigation boss and his personal friend James Comey - who actually admitted to Congress that he hoped to force the appointment of a special counsel by leaking the memos of his meetings with Trump to the press.

Reacting to Mueller's statement, US President Donald Trump said nothing had changed and "the case is closed!". There was insufficient evidence and therefore, in our Country, a person is innocent.

The Trump re-election campaign released a statement by campaign manager Brad Parscale that said Mueller's remarks on Wednesday "fully and completely exonerated" Trump and that the "case is now closed".

US Special Counsel Robert Mueller said on Wednesday that he is leaving the Justice Department now that he has concluded his Russian Federation probe.

Democrats were joined by some Republicans, too, like Michigan Rep. Justin Amash, who broke ranks recently to call for Trump's impeachment.

Mueller's "statement makes it clear", Booker tweeted afterward, that "Congress has a legal and moral obligation to begin impeachment proceedings immediately".

Mr Mueller, who announced he was resigning and returning to private life, said Justice Department policy prohibited him from bringing charges against a sitting president.

Trump, meanwhile, has latched onto the phrase "no collusion", citing the reports determination that while the Trump campaign may have expected to benefit from Russian interference in the 2016 election, the investigation did not find evidence that the campaign "conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities".

Mueller added that the U.S. Constitution "requires a process other than the criminal justice system to formally accuse a sitting president of wrongdoing".

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For Democrats, Mueller's remarks fed into an ongoing debate over whether to open impeachment proceedings.

A redacted version of the report was released in April, and the report did not make a conclusion on whether Trump had committed obstruction of justice but did not exonerate him, either.

But Nadler would not say if his committee would subpoena Mueller, who expressed a reluctance to testify before Congress about his two-year probe of President Trump.

House Democrats want Mueller to testify publicly, though no date or arrangements have been set, and it's not clear that he will.

Mueller's statement - his first and only before cameras since his appointment in May 2017 - came as the Trump administration and Democrats on Capitol Hill are locked in a constitutional showdown over congressional oversight authorities.

While Trump first praised Mueller after Barr's summary was released, the president has more recently returned to a recurring theme, alleging without evidence that the Mueller team was a collection of "angry Democrats", with the origins of the Russian Federation probe characterized by political bias.

"Under longstanding department policy, a president can not be charged with a federal crime while he is in office", Mr Mueller said.

Mueller, for his part, privately complained to Barr that a four-page letter the attorney general wrote summarising his main conclusions did not adequately capture the investigation's findings. President Bill Clinton was acquitted on the charge of obstruction of justice, but the Senate was tied 50-50 as to whether or not he lied to Congress during the investigation.

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