Robert Mueller resigns as special counsel, addresses Russia report

Wednesday - 29/05/2019 12:27
Special Counsel Robert Mueller makes a statement about the Russia investigation on May 29, 2019 at the Justice Department in Washington, DC. Pic: AFPSource:AFP
Special Counsel Robert Mueller makes a statement about the Russia investigation on May 29, 2019 at the Justice Department in Washington, DC. Pic: AFPSource:AFP
Special counsel Robert Mueller has revealed the inner workings of his investigation - but his reasoning has only raised questions over his mysterious conclusion.

Special counsel Robert Mueller, breaking a two-year silence on his investigation into ties between Russia and the Trump campaign on Wednesday, said that he believed he was constitutionally barred from charging President Donald Trump with a crime but emphasised that his report did not exonerate the president.

“A Special Counsel’s Office is part of the Department of Justice, and by regulation, it was bound by that department policy,” Mr Mueller said, Speaking at the Justice Department in Washington DC.

“Charging the president with a crime was therefore not an option we could consider,” the former FBI director said.
 

Special Counsel Robert Mueller speaks on the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 Presidential election in Washington, DC, on May 29, 2019. Picture: AFP
Special Counsel Robert Mueller speaks on the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 Presidential election in Washington, DC, on May 29, 2019.
Picture: AFPSource:AFP

 

At the same time, Mr Mueller reiterated that his report into Russian interference in the 2016 election did not exonerate the president.

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

“We did not, however, make a determination as to whether the president did commit a crime.”

It didn’t take long for President Trump to respond, tweeting minutes after the press conference, “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.”
 

 

CALLS FOR IMPEACHMENT

House Judiciary Committee chair Jerry Nadler said Mr Mueller’s comments made clear that the responsibility now lies with Congress “to respond to the crimes, lies and other wrongdoing of President Trump.”In a statement, Mr Nadler, whose committee could launch impeachment proceedings, said Mr Mueller confirmed for the public that he “did not exonerate” Mr Trump of obstruction of justice.

“Although Department of Justice policy prevented the Special Counsel from bringing criminal charges against the President, 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. 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.”

US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump walk across the South Lawn as they return to the White House in Washington, DC on May 28, 2019. Picture: AFP
US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump walk across the South Lawn as they return to the White House in Washington, DC on May 28, 2019.
Picture: AFPSource:AFP

 

       

statements since his appointment as special counsel two years ago.

RELUCTANT TO TESTIFY

Mr Mueller also said he is not ruling out testifying before Congress, but is serving notice that he does not intend to go beyond what has already been revealed in his report.

Mr Mueller said he and the special counsel team chose their words carefully in the report and “the work speaks for itself.”

He added that the report is his “testimony” and that he “would not provide information beyond that which is already public in any appearance before Congress.”

The statement came amid demands for Mueller to testify on Capitol Hill about his findings and tension with Attorney General William Barr

He said that beyond what he said in his public statement and in his written work he doesn’t believe it is “appropriate” for him “to speak further about the investigation.”

Mr Mueller’s report revealed that President Donald Trump tried to seize control of the Russia probe and force Mueller’s removal to stop him from investigating potential obstruction of justice by the Republican president. Mr Trump has called the investigation a “witch hunt.”

LEAVING HIS POST

Special counsel Mueller said he’s leaving the Justice Department now that he’s concluded his Russia investigation, announcing his resignation so that he can “return to public life.”

Mr Mueller has been on the Justice Department’s payroll since he formally concluded his probe in March. Last month, Attorney General William Barr publicly released a redacted version of his Russia report.

It’s unclear what Mueller has been doing at the Justice Department since, though the Democrat-led House Judiciary Committee has been negotiating with his office in an attempt to secure his public testimony before Congress. So far, no deal has been made.

More to come.

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