Mueller breaks silence on Russia investigation
WASHINGTON—Special counsel Robert Mueller on Wednesday gave his first public comments about the investigation into Russian interference in 2016 U.S. presidential election. He announced his resignation from the Justice Department and said he did not plan to testify before Congress. Mueller was appointed in May 2017 to examine whether Donald Trump’s campaign conspired with the Russian government to influence the election’s outcome. The probe’s results are described in a 448-page report and led to indictments of 37 people and businesses. During his statement, Mueller described Russian intelligence agents’ concerted efforts to interfere in the U.S. election system through cyberattacks, social media campaigns, and the release of emails damaging to Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s reputation. He reiterated the report’s findings that the Trump campaign did not conspire with the Russian government in the attacks.
On the question of obstruction of justice, Mueller said his office followed Justice Department policy, which forbids charging a sitting president with a crime. The Constitution provides a “process other than the criminal justice system to formally accuse the president of wrongdoing,” he said, referencing the role of Congress in conducting impeachment proceedings. It would be “unfair to potentially accuse someone of crime when there can be no court resolution of the actual charge,” Mueller noted.
Attorney General William Barr and former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein found the evidence did not support an obstruction of justice claim.
House Democrats have pushed for Mueller to testify before Congress, and the president has said he will leave that decision to Barr. Mueller does not intend to speak about the investigation publicly again and said he is “making that decision himself.” He said any testimony to Congress would not go beyond the written report, describing that as “my testimony.”
“Nothing changes from the Mueller Report,” Trump tweeted Wednesday. “There was insufficient evidence and therefore, in our Country, a person is innocent. The case is closed!”
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