Mueller: ‘If we had had confidence that the president had clearly not committed a crime, we would have said so’
Special counsel Robert Mueller issued his first public statement on his investigation into Russian interference with
the 2016 election, emphasizing one of the key points of his report:
In his statement, Mueller said his office could not bring criminal charges against the president because the team believed it to be unconstitutional.
“If we had had confidence that the president had clearly not committed a crime, we would have said so,” said Mueller, adding, “Charging the president with a crime is not an option we could consider.”
“I hope and expect this to be the only time that I will speak to you in this manner,” said Mueller. “I am making that decision myself, no one has told me whether I can or should testify.
There has been discussion about an appearance before Congress. Any testimony from this office would not go beyond our report. It contains our findings and analysis and the reasons for the decisions we made.”
“We chose those words carefully and the work speaks for itself. And the report is my testimony. I would not provide information beyond that which is already public in an appearance before Congress.
In addition, access to our underlying work product is being decided in a process that does not involve our office.” Mueller did not take questions from the assembled reporters after the 10-minute statement.
Trump, who had claimed vindication after Mueller’s report, tweeted that “Nothing changes from the Mueller Report.” He added his own spin to Mueller’s remarks:
“There was insufficient evidence and therefore, in our Country, a person is innocent. The case is closed! Thank you.”