Trump responded to Mueller's remarks saying, 'The case is closed. Thank you.'
US Special Counsel Robert Mueller, speaking publicly Wednesday for the first time on his investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 elections, resigned from his post at the Justice Department and stated that it was “not an option” to charge President Donald Trump with a crime while he is still in office.
After announcing his resignation and the closing of the special counsel’s office, Mueller reiterated the findings of his some 400-page report that dealt primarily with the question of whether any member’s of Trump’s presidential campaign conspired with Russia to get him election and if Trump himself sought to obstruct justice.
He said his office is not commenting on the guilt or innocence of any specific defendant, adding that when it comes to Trump’s possible obstruction of justice, it ‘was not an option’ to charge a sitting president with a crime regardless of the report’s findings.
He also said it would not be appropriate for him to testify to congress and that any testimony he might provide would not elaborate any further on the report than what has already been published.
However, as the report states, Mueller repeated that if his office “had confidence the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so,” effectively stating that though Trump could not be charged, he could not fully clear the president either.
“The Russian government interfered in the 2016 presidential election in sweeping and systematic fashion,” the document states, clearly fingering Russia for comprehensive interference in US democracy.
“First, a Russian entity carried out a social media campaign that favored presidential candidate Donald J. Trump and disparaged presidential candidate Hillary Clinton,” it reads.
“Second, a Russian intelligence service conducted computer-intrusion operations against entities, employees, and volunteers working on the Clinton campaign and then released stolen documents.”
However, it explains that the efforts did not amount to a criminal conspiracy.
Trump responded to Mueller’s remarks in a tweet, lauding the US legal system for considering a person innocent until proven guilty by sufficient evidence.
“The case is closed. Thank you,” Trump concluded.
“The investigation did not establish that members of the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities,” it reads.
Trump cast himself as fully “exonerated” after Attorney General Bill Barr delivered a four-page memo to Congress on March 24 that he called a summary of the two-year probe’s key findings, telling lawmakers the evidence was insufficient to support criminal obstruction charges.