Robert Mueller’s Statement: If President Trump Were Just “Mr. Trump”

On May 29, Special Counsel Robert Mueller gave his first public statement regarding the findings of the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. Now that Robert Mueller himself has spoken to the public about the investigation’s findings, little can be left to speculation as to what Mueller and his team discovered, or what they concluded.

Mueller started his ten-minute address with the reminder about why he was appointed: “The Russian military launched a concerted attack on our political system…They stole private information and then released that information through fake online identities and through the organization WikiLeaks. The releases were designed and timed to interfere with our election and to damage a presidential candidate.”

Mueller cited the difficulty that the Justice Department had at times with obtaining information from those who were questioned during the investigation.

“It was critical for us to obtain full and accurate information from every person we questioned. When a subject of an investigation obstructs that investigation or lies to investigators, it strikes at the core of the government’s effort to find the truth and hold wrongdoers accountable.”

Robert Mueller stopped short of saying explicitly that Donald Trump was guilty of obstruction of justice. 

In the case of Mueller’s report on the investigation, which was released on April 18, 2019, Attorney General William Barr chose to interpret the findings as indicating that there was no basis for charging Trump with obstruction of justice. 

Mueller did not, however, state that his team had found no basis for charging  Trump. What Mueller said was that they “did not make a determination as to whether the president did commit a crime.” 

Some Trump supporters pounced on “did not make a determination” as a declaration of Trump’s innocence. 

But in his address, Robert Mueller said, “The order appointing me Special Counsel authorized us to investigate actions that could obstruct the investigation. … As set forth in the report, after that investigation if we had had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so.”

Mueller went on to explain why he didn’t go further. It was not because the Justice Department had found no evidence of wrongdoing.

“Under longstanding department policy, a president cannot be charged with a federal crime while he is in office. That is unconstitutional. Even if the charge is kept under seal and hidden from public view, that, too, is prohibited. The special counsel’s office is part of the Department of Justice, and by regulation, it was bound by that department policy. Charging the president with a crime was therefore not an option we could consider.”

As one legal expert, Jessica Levinson, law professor at Loyola Law school said, “If we were talking about Mr. Trump, not President Trump, we’d be talking about an indictment for obstruction of justice.”

Robert Mueller is leaving it up to Congress to enforce the obstruction of justice statute regarding Trump and his efforts to impede the Russia investigation. 

WATCH: Robert Mueller makes 1st public statement on Russia probe | 
PBS NewsHour [2019-05-29]

Trump reacts to Mueller’s Russia probe statement in angry tirade | 
Fox News [2019-05-30]

Mueller Report: Not Exactly Exoneration

Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation is now complete, and the report of the inquiry has been delivered. According to U.S. Attorney General William Barr, Mueller’s report stated that the investigation found no evidence of collusion between Donald Trump and Russia regarding interference with the 2016 presidential election.

Many have concluded, “No collusion, no crime, Trump is innocent, let’s move on.”

As Trump and his administration celebrated, Trump tweeted, “”No Collusion, No Obstruction, Complete and Total EXONERATION. KEEP AMERICA GREAT!”

But, said Barr, quoting Mueller’s report, “While this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.”

Still, Barr and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein have determined that there was not sufficient evidence supporting prosecution of Trump for obstruction of justice in the ongoing investigation.

This does not mean that all investigation against Trump will cease, Americans can begin working together in harmony, and the remainder of Donald Trump’s presidency will proceed happily ever after.

Though Robert Mueller did not recommend any further indictments, we should keep in mind that most legal experts agree that a sitting president cannot be indicted, anyway. And though Mueller’s report concludes that no evidence was found regarding Trump’s collusion with Russia, evidence does show that Russia interfered with the 2016 U.S. presidential election. We should also remember that Robert Mueller’s investigation of Donald Trump was specifically directed at uncovering and determining criminal activity around election collusion with Russia.

Other investigations of Trump, independent of Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, have been ongoing, and will continue. Congress, as well as other federal and state entities, are still investigating Trump and examining other activities around his 2016 presidential campaign, as well as looking into questionable business activities by Trump and the Trump Organization. It’s still possible that criminal charges against Trump could result from these investigations.

George Conway, in response to Robert Mueller’s report, tweeted, “Whatever happens this day or the next, or in this investigation or the next or the one after that, we should always remember this: We should expect far more from a president than merely that he not be provably a criminal beyond a reasonable doubt.”

The public may never see Robert Mueller’s full report. For Trump’s supporters, “No evidence of collusion” is a complete “win” for Trump. But for many others, we should, as Conway said, expect much more than a report stating that nothing was proven.

Trump claims ‘complete exoneration’ by Mueller report | DW News

Trump: Mueller acted honorably in his investigation and report | Fox News [2018-03-25]