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Special counsel Mueller says charging Trump with a crime was ‘not an option we could consider’

Robert Mueller on February 16, 2011, as he testifies before a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing in Washington, D.C. (James Berglie/Zuma Press/TNS)
May 29, 2019

This is a breaking news story. Please check back for updates as more information becomes available.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller broke his silence for the first time since his nearly two-year investigation into Russian election interference that concluded in April, saying he was leaving the Justice Department, closing the office and going back to private life.

He also said that his office “did not make a determination [as to whether or not] the President committed a crime,” as there is a long-standing DOJ policy that the President cannot be charged with a federal crime while in office.

“That is unconstitutional,” Mueller noted. “Charging the President with a crime was not an option we could consider.”

“It would be unfair to potentially accuse somebody of a crime when there could be no court resolution of the charge,” he said. “We concluded we would not reach a determination one way or the other about whether or not the President committed a crime. We will not comment otherwise.”

Mueller spoke for several minutes and did not take any questions.

He said the report, which has two parts – volume one addressing details about numerous Russian efforts to try and interfere with the 2016 Presidential election, and volume two investigating potential obstruction of justice by the President – “speaks for itself,” and that he would not be making any further statements or appear before Congress to testify.

“I hope and expect this to be the only time I speak to you on this matter. There has been discussion about an appearance before Congress. Any testimony from this office would not go beyond our report. We chose those words carefully, and the work speaks for itself,” Mueller added.

Mueller’s 448-page report was given to the Justice Department in April, and a redacted version was later released to Congress and the public.

The report does not indicate that President Donald Trump obstructed justice or colluded with the Russians. The report does note 10 instances where President Trump tried to impede the investigation.

Trump said he was fully exonerated after the report was released. He has long-called the investigation into Russian meddling and collusion a “witch hunt” that should never happen to another sitting President.