In his first public comments addressing the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, special counsel Robert Mueller said Wednesday that his hands were tied, the Wall Street Journal reports.
“Charging the president with the crime was not an option that we could consider,” Mueller said in his remarks at the Justice Department on Wednesday morning.
“Under longstanding department policy, a president cannot be charged with a federal crime,” Mueller continued. “The special counsel’s office is part of the Department of Justice…If we had had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so.”
Mueller said the investigation is officially closed and announced his resignation, making it clear that, even if called to do so, he would not testify before Congress on anything beyond the investigation’s findings, stating, “The report is my testimony.”
Watch Mueller give his statement below:
Democrats have long wavered on whether or not to impeach Trump, with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi claiming it will further divide the nation. Her tune has now changed, somewhat. In a press briefing, Pelosi said, “The White House is crying out for impeachment,” USA Today reports.
Trump, however, tweeted that Mueller’s statement was a full exoneration.
Presidential hopefuls Sens. Cory Booker, Kamala Harris, and Elizabeth Warren, all weighed in on Twitter, saying Mueller’s statement is a clear passing of the baton.
Mueller’s statement makes clear what those who have read his report know: It is an impeachment referral, and it’s up to Congress to act. They should.— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) May 29, 2019
David Cicilline, a member of the House Judiciary Committee, also said that Mueller’s remarks were a call to action. “Now it is time for Congress to do its job,” Cicilline said.
“The next step is for the House Judiciary Committee to open an impeachment inquiry to formally begin consideration of whether or not articles of impeachment should be filed,” he continued. “The opening of this inquiry will allow the Committee to collect evidence, compel the attendance of witnesses, and decide how to proceed.”Share :