Special Counsel Robert Mueller has given his first statement in over two years concerning his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and alleged collusion between Trump campaign associates and Russian entities.
Speaking from the Justice Department on Wednesday morning, Mueller re-iterated that his investigation was tasked to investigate Russian interference by the then-Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.
Starting his remarks, Mueller said his final report was made publicly available and that the special counsel office would be closed. Mueller said he would also be resigning from his post at the Justice Department to join the private sector.
The former Special Counsel’s address lasted just over ten minutes where he explained a general overview of his investigation and its final report.
“The report has two parts addressing the two main issues we were asked to investigate. The first volume of the report details numerous efforts, emanating from Russia, to influence the election,” he said.
“There is insufficient evidence to charge a broader conspiracy,” Mueller determined of Russia’s attempts to hack into the election and the Trump Administration’s subsequent response.
“And the second part describes the results and analysis of our obstruction of justice investigation involving the president.”
Echoing his comments from the final report, Mueller said: “We did not, however, make a determination as to whether the president did commit a crime. The introduction of volume two in our report explains that decision. It explains that 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,” he added.
“The special counsel’s office is part of the Department of Justice and, by regulation, is bound by that department policy. Charging the president with a crime, therefore, was not an option we could consider,” Mueller contended.
The former Special Counsel also thanked Attorney General William Barr for publicly releasing the final report. Mueller also said he does not intend to further testify before Congress or to anyone else as he claims the final report is his testimony.
“I do not think it is appropriate to speak further on the investigation,” Mueller said, dismissing any questions after his remarks.
Fox News reports:
Last month, Mueller’s report, with redactions covering sources and methods, and grand jury material, was released to the public and to Congress. The special counsel found no evidence of collusion between the Russians and members of the Trump campaign during the 2016 presidential election.
Mueller was also leading an inquiry into whether the president obstructed justice, outlining 10 instances that could have been perceived as obstruction. Mueller did not, however, come to a conclusion on that matter.
Attorney General Bill Barr, in March, upon reviewing Mueller’s report, said in his four-page summary that the special counsel’s investigation did not find evidence sufficient to charge the president with an obstruction of justice offense.
Barr has come under intense scrutiny over his handling of the report. The House Judiciary Committee, earlier this month, voted to hold him in contempt after he failed to comply with a subpoena to turn over an unredacted version of the Mueller report and its underlying documents and evidence to the committee. The president, then, asserted executive privilege in a bid to protect those files from release.
Here’s Mueller’s address: