Published: Fri, May 31, 2019
Culture | By Margie Dunn

Russian Federation probe: Mueller says charging Trump was 'not an option'

Russian Federation probe: Mueller says charging Trump was 'not an option'

The president declared that "the case is closed".

The House Judiciary chairman said Congress will "respond to the crimes, lies and other wrongdoing of President Trump".

He also tried to explain some of the decision-making behind his 448-page report, which continues to roil Washington, and to explain why he described multiple instances of behavior by Mr. Trump that sounded like obstruction of justice, but for which no charges were brought. His report is "my testimony", Mr Mueller said, and he won't go beyond what is written in the report.

Last month, Attorney General William Barr publicly released a redacted version of his Russian Federation report.

But in the end, Mr Mueller said, "There was insufficient evidence to charge a broader conspiracy" of collusion. As to whether Trump criminally obstructed the investigation, the special counsel wrote that while he could not charge the president, he could not exonerate him either.

Because of the Justice Department opinion, Mueller said that "charging the president with a crime was therefore not an option we could consider".

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

Trump, who's often referred to the Mueller probe as a "witch hunt", has continuously maintained there was "no collusion" with Russian Federation and "no obstruction".

Barr told reporters on April 18 that Mueller "made it very clear several times that that was not his position". Barr has opened his own review into the origins of the Russian Federation investigation.

Trump has blocked House committees' subpoenas and other efforts to dig into the Trump-Russia issue, insisting Mueller's report has settled everything.

Moments after his statement, Democrats in Congress were calling for action.

"That is unconstitutional", Mueller said. Republicans for the Rule of Law will air an advertisement on "Fox & Friends" next week urging Congress to hold Trump accountable.

"Special Counsel Mueller investigated an attack on America, seeking to uncover every detail a complex scheme to weaken our country", Truax said in a statement emailed to Newsweek.

"I've had this specific discussion with Steve Bannon, who thought not", said Wolff, referring to Trump's former chief of staff, who gave him much of his access to the White House.

Mueller appeared to have misgivings at one point as well, complaining to Barr in March that he had initially disclosed his main findings in an incomplete way that caused public confusion.

"There must be consequences, accountability, and justice", said former Texas congressman Beto O'Rourke.

Meanwhile, the statement has ramped up calls for impeachment proceedings against the President, a move which was halted by the Democrats so far.

Mr Mueller made clear, though, that he thought it was up to Congress to pursue the case further.

Except Mueller said no such thing in his stunning statement at DOJ, announcing he was stepping down as Special Counsel and returning to private life.

Ms Pelosi has fended off the idea, which would be fraught with political risk for the party 18 months ahead of presidential elections.

Her comments, her first public response to the video since it began spreading online last week, revealed a dramatic escalation of tensions between the Democratic leader and the world's most popular social network.

"The American people must have the truth". Barr dismissed the complaint as "a bit snitty" in testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

"We would like to thank Special Counsel Robert Mueller for his service to our nation over the past two years".

"We will do so".

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