Special counsel Robert Mueller said Wednesday he believed he was constitutionally barred from charging President Donald Trump with a crime but pointedly emphasized that his report did not exonerate the president.
He cautioned lawmakers who have been negotiating for his public testimony that he would not go beyond his report in the event he appears before Congress.
The comments were Mueller’s first public statements since his appointment as special counsel two years ago.
“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.”
Trump, who has repeatedly and falsely claimed that Mueller’s report cleared him of obstruction of justice, modified that contention somewhat shortly after the special counsel’s remarks. He tweeted, “There was insufficient evidence and therefore, in our Country, a person is innocent. The case is closed!”
Mueller’s statement came amid demands for Mueller to testify on Capitol Hill about his findings and tension with Attorney General William Barr.
Larry sits down with a political analysts and a reporter covering the DOJ to parse through Mueller’s statement this morning and discuss what’s next for Congress.
With files from the Associated Press
Sean T. Walsh, Republican political analyst and partner at Wilson Walsh Consulting in San Francisco; he is a former adviser to California Governors Pete Wilson and Arnold Schwarzenegger and a former White House staffer for Presidents Reagan and H.W. Bush