All eyes were on the Justice Department late Wednesday morning as special counsel Robert Mueller made his first public comments about his probe of President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign, amid concerns of collusion with Russia.
Mueller announced that he is formally closing the special counsel and resigning his position.
“Our investigation is complete,” he stated.
“We are formally closing the special counsel’s office and as well I am resigning from the Department of Justice to return to private life,” Mueller said.
Mueller pointed to indictments that the Russian military hacked into accounts, stole information and released it on Facebook and through Wikileaks as the beginning of his investigation.
He also spoke of not being able to indict a sitting president with a federal crime and said they did not make a determination in that regard, adding the law does not allow them to accuse the commander-in-chief of a crime even in a private report.
“That is unconstitutional,” Mueller said. “It was bound by that department policy.”
“If we had confidence that the president did not commit a crime we would have said so,” Mueller stressed. “We did not, however, make a determination as to whether the president did commit a crime.”
In closing, Mueller said he will not speak further on his investigation and did not take questions.
He also insisted there were “multiple, systematic efforts” to interfere in our elections and that should take precedence.
“I will close by reiterating the central allegation of our indictments, that there were multiple, systematic efforts to interfere in our election. And that allegation deserves the attention of every American,” Mueller said.
The DOJ announced that Muller would make his first statement in more than two years since he was appointed as special counsel, Fox News reported.
There has been mounting pressure from Democrats for Mueller to testify before the House Judiciary Committee, which is controlled by the party. The panel is one of five Democrat-led committees currently investigating the president.
As for testifying before Congress, Mueller said, “The report is my testimony.”
“There has been discussion about an appearance before Congress,” he said. “Any testimony from this office would not go beyond our report. It contains our findings and analysis and the reasons for the decisions we made. We chose those words carefully and the work speaks for itself. And the report is my testimony. I would not provide information beyond that which is already public in any appearance before Congress.”
Democrats continue their pursuit of Trump despite Mueller finding no evidence of collusion after two years and more than $30 millions spent, and stopping short of charging President Trump with obstruction of justice.
Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., chairman of the House Judiciary Committee has reportedly been in negotiations with Mueller on attending a hearing.
Attorney General William Barr came under fire after a letter from Mueller was leaked to the media. In the letter, he expressed concerns to Barr that his summary of the final report did not capture the “context, nature, and substance” of the investigation’s findings.
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