Mueller fires starting gun on Democratic race to impeach by saying charging Trump was NOT AN OPTION as 2020 candidates demand action now and Nancy Pelosi tries to stem growing rebellion in her ranks
- Special Counsel Robert Mueller made a statement at 11 am Wednesday
- He did not questions from the press
- He stressed that his report did not charge President Trump with a crime because Justice Department regulations would not have allowed it
- He said charging the president with a crime was ‘not an option we could consider’
- President Trump tweeted immediately that the case was ‘closed’
- White House said it was time for everyone to ‘move on’
- He said any further testimony by him would not go beyond his report
- Mueller does not want to appear publicly before Congress, according to House Judiciary Chairman Jerold Nadler
- Nadler said after Mueller’s appearance that ‘with respect to impeachment question at this point, all options are on the table’
- The White House got a heads-up Tuesday night, a senior White House official said
- Mueller turned in a 448-page report to AG Bill Barr in March, but had not spoken publicly about it as of Wednesday morning
- Mueller wrote Barr to say that his own four-page letter ‘did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance’ of the report
- The report stated that it ‘does no exonerate Trump,’ although Barr in his press conference stated that the report confirmed ‘no collusion’
- Barr said he and former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein concluded the report did not contain sufficient evidence to charge Trump with obstruction
Influential Democrats lined up to call for the start of the impeachment process against President Trump following Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s dramatic statement that it was ‘not an option’ for his office to have charged the president.
The normally tight-lipped Mueller stirred the impeachment pot with his remarks at the Justice Department without actually uttering word – noting instead that ‘the Constitution requires a process other than the criminal justice system to formally accuse a sitting President of wrongdoing.’
With Mueller mentioning the preservation of evidence and referencing his report’s statement that it did not exonerate the president, even House Speaker Nancy Pelosi – who is struggling to contain an anxious impeachment faction in her caucus – said it was ‘on the table.
‘If we had confidence that the President clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said that,’ said Mueller – directly contradicting President Trump’s claim that he was ‘completely exonerated’ by the report.
Several Democratic presidential candidates, including members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said Mueller’s statement was tantamount to an impeachment referral.
Pelosi put a number on the group of Democrats who were now gunning for impeachment – saying the number had reached 38 out of a House majority that is 238 strong.
That number is within the range that impeachment backer Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) referenced himself in a recent interview.
‘We will continue on our path,’ said Pelosi, referencing investigations by six Democratic committees and a string of recent legal victories.
‘Where they will lead us, we shall see. Nothing is off the table,’ she said. ‘But we do want to make such a compelling case, such an ironclad case that even the Republican Senate which at the time seems to be not an objective jury, will be convinced of the path that we have to take as a country.’
‘I’m very proud of our House Democrats,’ Pelosi said. ‘They’ve been, very shall we say conscientious about how they’ve reached their decisions, and I think it’s like 35 of them out of 238, maybe it’s 38 of them out of 238, have said they want to be outspoken on impeachment.’
Special Counsel Robert Mueller makes a statement about the Russia investigation on May 29, 2019 at the Justice Department in Washington, DC
Mueller told the country in a dramatic statement that it was ‘not an option’ for his office to have charged President Trump with an obstruction crime and that it would be ‘inappropriate’ for him to speak further about his probe of Russian election interference.
In a public statement he said would likely be his only one, Mueller restated parts of his 448-report – including the controversial decision not to charge Trump with a crime.
The president has repeatedly cited the report – and his own attorney general’s decision not to charge him – as proof that there was ‘no obstruction.’
But Mueller, in his sudden statement delivered with little public notification, said his decision rested on Justice Department policy – not on the guilt or innocence of President Trump.
That did not stop Trump from tweeting immediately after Mueller’s remarks that the case against him was ‘closed.’
‘Nothing changes from the Mueller Report. There was insufficient evidence and therefore, in our Country, a person is innocent. The case is closed! Thank you,’ Trump wrote.
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President Trump tweeted immediately after Mueller spoke that there was ‘insufficient evidence’ and that ‘a person is innocent’
Charging Trump as such would have been ‘unconstitutional,’ Mueller said – making a technical legal point that nevertheless contradicts President Trump’s repeated claims that he has been effectively ruled innocent by the special counsel.
Mueller’s remarks drew immediate and renewed calls for Trump’s impeachment – including from several Democratic presidential candidates. Joining them was Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan, the lone Republican to call for Congress to take up an impeachment inquiry.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Sen. Kamala Harris, and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg each referred to Mueller’s statement as like an impeachment ‘referral,’ while Sen. Cory Booker called impeachment proceedings the ‘only path forward.’ Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wrote on Twitter: ‘Mueller is playing a game of Taboo with Congress. His word is “impeach.”‘
House Judiciary Chairman Jerold Nadler said it ‘falls to Congress to respond to the crimes, lies and other wrongdoing of President Trump.’
‘With respect to impeachment question at this point, all options are on the table and nothing should be ruled out,’ Nadler said at a press conference in New York.
Mueller made a point of plucking from the report a statement that investigators would have said so if they had been able to establish that Trump did not commit an obstruction crime.
He cited ‘longstanding’ Justice Department policies that a president cannot be charged while in office and noted, as does the report, that if he had been charged the president wouldn’t be able to defend himself as he would in court.
‘That is unconstitutional,’ Mueller said – emphasizing that the fundamental reason not to charge Trump didn’t have to do with guilt or innocence, but rather those foundational factors.
‘By regulation it was bound by that department policy,’ said Mueller. ‘Charging the president with a crime was therefore not an option we could consider.’
Mueller repeated a key conclusion of the report – although one that was not included in Attorney General Barr’s original four-page letter.
Mueller said it would have been unconstitutional and not fair to the accused were he to charge President Trump with obstruction of justice
Mueller said virtually nothing publicly during the course of his two-year investigation until his press statement Wednesday
‘And as set forth in the report, after that investigation, if we had had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so. We did not, however, make a determination as to whether the president did commit a crime.’
Mueller explained: ‘Under long-standing 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. A special counsel’s office is part of the department of justice, and by regulation, it was bound by that department policy. Charging the president with a crime was therefore not an option we could consider.’
He also spoke of the seriousness of obstruction, and highlighted language in the report which seemed to suggest it was up to Congress to figure out what to do with the information it included.
‘It was critical for us to obtain full and accurate information from every person we questioned. When a subject of an investigation obstructs that investigation or lies to investigators, it strikes at the core of the government’s effort to find the truth and hold wrongdoers accountable,’ Mueller said.
Although his language was indirect, Mueller referenced both possible future charges, as well as the Constitution’s language dealing with impeachment as a political remedy to ‘high crimes and misdemeanors’ carried out by a president.
‘First, the [Justice Department] opinion explicitly permits the investigation of a sitting President because it is important to preserve evidence while memories are fresh and documents are available. Among other things, that evidence could be used if there were co-conspirators who could now be charged,’ Barr said.
‘And second, the opinion says that the Constitution requires a process other than the criminal justice system to formally accuse a sitting President of wrongdoing,’ he added. The ‘other than’ system if for Congress, through votes in the House and Senate, to remove officials accused of misconduct from office following a trial-like procedure.
He also said he does not want to appear before Congress as Democrats are demanding.
‘Any testimony from this office would not go beyond our report,’ Mueller said.
‘The report is my testimony. I would not provide information beyond that which is already public in any appearance before Congress.’
Mueller explains why he didn’t make a decision on charging Trump
‘And as set forth in the report, after that investigation, if we had had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so. We did not, however, make a determination as to whether the president did commit a crime. The introduction to the volume II of our report explains that decision. It explains that under long-standing 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. A special counsel’s office is part of the department of justice, and by regulation, it was bound by that department policy. Charging the president with a crime was therefore not an option we could consider.
‘It contains our findings and analysis and the reasons for the decisions we said. We chose those words carefully and the work speaks for itself.’
‘I do not believe it is appropriate for me to speak further about the investigation,’ said Mueller.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders told DailyMail.com that the White House is ‘always’ prepared – though she didn’t say outright that it had been holding impeachment strategy sessions.
‘We’re always prepared but I don’t think the American people deserve that,’ she said when asked about impeachment. ‘Look, every single minute that Congress spends on that, we’re not spending on infrastructure, we’re not spending on lowering prescription drug prices,’ she said.
‘Every single thing that they’re doing is taking away from things that could actually help the American people,’ she said of congressional Democrats, calling it a ‘great disservice.’
Asked if that meant White House staffers weren’t also huddling on impeachment, Sanders responded: ‘I’m not going to get into internal processes. I’m just saying we’re always prepared and we’re going to move forward doing what we think is important, and focus on things that actually help people.’
Mueller also plucked from the report conclusive language describing Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
He brought up Russia’s use of ‘sophisticated cyber techniques’ and quoted from indictments that blamed Russian military intelligence.
‘They stole private information and then released that information through fake online identities and through the organization WikiLeaks,’ he said, in order to ‘damage a presidential candidate’ – Hillary Clinton.
‘Russian citizens posed as Americans in order to influence an election,’ he said.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders used Mueller’s statement as a call for everyone to move on from the Russia probe.
‘The Special Counsel has completed the investigation, closed his office, and has closed the case. Mr. Mueller explicitly said that he has nothing to add beyond the report, and therefore, does not plan to testify before Congress. The report was clear—there was no collusion, no conspiracy—and the Department of Justice confirmed there was no obstruction. Special Counsel Mueller also stated that Attorney General Barr acted in good faith in his handling of the report. After two years, the Special Counsel is moving on with his life, and everyone else should do the same,’ said Sanders.
House Judiciary Chairman Rep. Jerold Nadler vowed to continue his investigation of President Trump but stopped short of saying House Democrats would proceed with impeachment proceedings.
‘Given that Special Counsel Mueller was unable to pursue criminal charges against the President, it falls to Congress to respond to the crimes, lies and other wrongdoing of President Trump – and we will do so,’ Nadler said in a statement.
‘No one, not even the President of the United States, is above the law,’ he added.
Mueller’s statement brought a renewed focus in Congress on the impeachment question.
‘Robert Mueller’s statement makes it clear: Congress has a legal and moral obligation to begin impeachment proceedings immediately,’ said New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, a Democratic presidential candidate.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts tweeted: ‘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.’
She added: ‘Mueller leaves no doubt: 1) He didn’t exonerate the president because there is evidence he committed crimes. 2) Justice Department policy prevented him from charging the president with any crimes. 3) The Constitution leaves it up to Congress to act—and that’s impeachment.’
South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg told NBC: ‘This is as close to an impeachment referral as you could get under the circumstances.’
‘The ball is in our court, Congress,’ wrote Justin Amash of Michigan, the sole Republican to call for Trump’s impeachment.
Democratic New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez retweeted Rep. David Cicilline of Rhode Island, who wrote: ‘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.’
‘This Administration has continued to stonewall Congress’s oversight. Beginning impeachment proceedings is the only path forward.’
Said Sen. Kamala Harris of California, another presidential candidate: ‘It’s a fair inference from what we heard in that press conference that Bob Mueller was essentially referring impeachment to the United States Congress.’
The office of Vice President Mike Pence released a statement saying there was ‘no obstruction’ and saying the White House had ‘fully cooperated.’
‘As Robert Mueller confirmed today, the investigation is complete. The Attorney General has made the Special Counsel’s report public. The Department of Justice concluded there was no collusion and no obstruction. For two years, the White House fully cooperated with the investigation turning over millions of pages of documents and making witnesses available for hundreds of hours of testimony,’ said Pence press secretary Alyssa Farah. Farah also called allegations against the president ‘discredited.’
‘The Trump Administration is focused every day on working on behalf of the American people. While some Democrats may cling to discredited allegations against the President, the American people can be confident: this Administration will continue to focus on making our nation stronger, safer, and more secure,’ she said.
Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani blasted Mueller in an appearance on Fox News.
‘The reality is that he gave us his opinion on collusion and obstruction,’ Giuliani said. ‘And his opinion is you can’t bring a case.’ Speaking to Mueller – his counterpart in negotiations where Trump avoided in-person testimony and presented responses to questions in writing, Giuliani wrote: ‘Bob, that’s the end of it. That’s what a prosecutor does. And you don’t prove negatives.’
Said Giuliani: ‘What they’ve done here is a perversion,’ The Hill reported. ‘A combination of him and the media. And I’m surprised at Bob because he’s a better lawyer than that. I don’t know where this notion came that you have to exonerate.’
Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale released a statement saying Mueller’s remarks revealed there was ‘no case for obstruction.’
‘Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s remarks today confirmed what we already knew. There was no collusion between the Russians and the Trump campaign, and there was no case for obstruction. President Trump has been fully and completely exonerated. Mueller said his investigation is over. The case is now closed,’ he said, picking up some of Trump’s own language.
‘Now it’s time to turn to the origins of the Russia hoax and get to the bottom of why the Trump campaign was spied on by the Obama-era DOJ and FBI. Anyone who is for transparency, constitutional civil liberties, and the rule of law should want to know why human sources, wiretapping, and unmasking were used to infiltrate a presidential campaign,’ Parscale said.
Trump also has called to ‘investigate the investigators,’ and even has accused multiple FBI officials of treason.
HOW ROBERT MUELLER BROKE TWO YEARS OF SILENCE: HIS FULL STATEMENT RESIGNING AND NOT CLEARING TRUMP OF A CRIME
This is the script Robert Mueller read from at the Department of Justice on May 29, his first public statement since being appointed as special counsel
Two years ago, the Acting Attorney General asked me to serve as Special Counsel, and he created the Special Counsel’s Office.
The appointment order directed the office to investigate Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. This included investigating any links or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the Trump campaign.
I have not spoken publicly during our investigation. I am speaking today because our investigation is complete. The Attorney General has made the report on our investigation largely public. And we are formally closing the Special Counsel’s Office. As well, I am resigning from the Department of Justice and returning to private life.
I’ll make a few remarks about the results of our work. But beyond these few remarks, it is important that the office’s written work speak for itself.
Let me begin where the appointment order begins: and that is interference in the 2016 presidential election.
As alleged by the grand jury in an indictment, Russian intelligence officers who were part of the Russian military launched a concerted attack on our political system.
The indictment alleges that they used sophisticated cyber techniques to hack into computers and networks used by the Clinton campaign. They stole private information, and then released that information through fake online identities and through the organization WikiLeaks. The releases were designed and timed to interfere with our election and to damage a presidential candidate.
And at the same time, as the grand jury alleged in a separate indictment, a private Russian entity engaged in a social media operation where Russian citizens posed as Americans in order to interfere in the election.
These indictments contain allegations. And we are not commenting on the guilt or innocence of any specific defendant. Every defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in court.
The indictments allege, and the other activities in our report describe, efforts to interfere in our political system. They needed to be investigated and understood. That is among the reasons why the Department of Justice established our office.
That is also a reason we investigated efforts to obstruct the investigation. The matters we investigated were of paramount importance. It was critical for us to obtain full and accurate information from every person we questioned. When a subject of an investigation obstructs that investigation or lies to investigators, it strikes at the core of the government’s effort to find the truth and hold wrongdoers accountable.
Let me say a word about the 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. This volume includes a discussion of the Trump campaign’s response to this activity, as well as our conclusion that there was insufficient evidence to charge a broader conspiracy.
And in the second volume, the report describes the results and analysis of our obstruction of justice investigation involving the President.
The order appointing me Special Counsel authorized us to investigate actions that could obstruct the investigation. We conducted that investigation and we kept the office of the Acting Attorney General apprised of the progress of our work.
As set forth in our report, after that investigation, if we had confidence that the President clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said that.
We did not, however, make a determination as to whether the President did commit a crime. The introduction to volume two of our report explains that decision.
It explains that under long-standing 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.
The Special Counsel’s Office is part of the Department of Justice and, by regulation, it was bound by that Department policy. Charging the President with a crime was therefore not an option we could consider.
The Department’s written opinion explaining the policy against charging a President makes several important points that further informed our handling of the obstruction investigation. Those points are summarized in our report. And I will describe two of them:
First, the opinion explicitly permits the investigation of a sitting President because it is important to preserve evidence while memories are fresh and documents are available. Among other things, that evidence could be used if there were co-conspirators who could now be charged.
And second, the opinion says that the Constitution requires a process other than the criminal justice system to formally accuse a sitting President of wrongdoing.
And beyond Department policy, we were guided by principles of fairness. It would be unfair to potentially accuse somebody of a crime when there can be no court resolution of an actual charge.
So that was the Justice Department policy and those were the principles under which we operated. From them we concluded that we would not reach a determination – one way or the other – about whether the President committed a crime. That is the office’s final position and we will not comment on any other conclusions or hypotheticals about the President.
We conducted an independent criminal investigation and reported the results to the Attorney General—as required by Department regulations.
The Attorney General then concluded that it was appropriate to provide our report to Congress and the American people.
At one point in time I requested that certain portions of the report be released. The Attorney General preferred to make the entire report public all at once. We appreciate that the Attorney General made the report largely public. I do not question the Attorney General’s good faith in that decision.
I hope and expect this to be the only time that I will speak about this matter. I am making that decision myself—no one has told me whether I can or should testify or speak further about this matter.
There has been discussion about an appearance before Congress. 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.
The report is my testimony. I would not provide information beyond that which is already public in any appearance before Congress.
In addition, access to our underlying work product is being decided in a process that does not involve our office.
So beyond what I have said here today and what is contained in our written work, I do not believe it is appropriate for me to speak further about the investigation or to comment on the actions of the Justice Department or Congress.
It is for that reason that I will not take questions here today.
Before I step away, I want to thank the attorneys, the FBI agents, the analysts, and the professional staff who helped us conduct this investigation in a fair and independent manner. These individuals, who spent nearly two years with the Special Counsel’s Office, were of the highest integrity.
I will close by reiterating the central allegation of our indictments—that there were multiple, systematic efforts to interfere in our election.
That allegation deserves the attention of every American.
Mueller finally broke his silence Wednesday in a decision his office revealed less than two hours in advance.
Mueller ‘will make a statement on the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 Presidential election,’ the special counsel’s office announced Wednesday morning shortly before the event was to be held.
‘This will be a statement only, no question and answer period to follow,’ according to Mueller’s office.
Trump’s campaign immediately fired off a fundraising email following Mueller’s appearance.
‘America doesn’t want to hear another word about the Mueller Report, unless it’s an apology from the Left and their Fake News friends,’ said the appeal.
Mueller spoke at the Justice Department inside the same venue where Barr provided his own comments about what was in the report before he released it – saying it showed ‘no collusion’ between the Trump campaign or other Americans and Russia’s election hacking.
The decision for Mueller not to take questions immediately criticism from Democrats in Congress who are pushing for more disclosure – and want to bring him before lawmakers to answer for his conclusions and information he gathered during his probe.
Special Counsel Robert Mueller will finally speak publicly Wednesday morning
Mueller turned in a 448-page report to Attorney General Bill Barr in March but has not yet spoken publicly about it. The only glimpse of his views came in a letter he wrote to Barr raising concerns about how the attorney general had presented his findings.
Mueller investigated ten cases of potential obstruction of justice by President Trump, but made no decision on whether he should be prosecuted for the conduct his report spelled out. He also made no finding that the Trump campaign conspired with the Russian government-backed election hacking, although he examined a skein of Russia contacts by campaign officials and Trump associates.
Rep. Gerry Connelly (D-Va.), a prominent House Democrat, told CNN he wished Mueller would take questions from the press, as it might be the only way to get at real splits within the Justice Department about decisions about how to release the report and describe to the public what was in it. Lawmakers also are girding to ask Mueller about his decision not to make a final decision himself on whether to charge Trump.
Mueller took the unusual step of memorializing objections in writing about Attorney Geenral William Barr’s own four-page letter summarizing his report
Special counsel Robert Mueller’s redacted report on the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. Democrats are demanding access to an un-redacted version
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) said Mueller does not want to testify publicly about his report
Mueller found that the ‘Russian government interfered in the 2016 presidential election in sweeping and systemic fashion’
House Judiciary Democrats and other committees want Mueller to appear to testify about the report, but negotiations have yet to bear fruit, amid a broad clash with the Trump White House over documents and access to information.
Barr spoke to the Senate Judiciary Committee but did not appear to the House committee after a clash with committee leadership over Democrats’ insistence that committee counsel be allowed to join the grilling.
A senior White House official said the White House ‘was notified’ that Mueller might speak. The notification came ‘last night,’ according to the official – an indication Trump and his team had hours to plan for how to handle any revelations Mueller might make – unless they were already briefed on what he might say.
Democrats also have been pushing for the White House to make available the entire un-redacted version of the Mueller report.
Mueller took the unusual step of memorializing objections in writing about Barr’s own four-page letter summarizing his report.
That letter served as the main public source of information about it for weeks after it was released, allowing Trump to state repeatedly that Mueller found ‘no collusion’ and ‘no obstruction.’
Mueller wrote Barr to say that his own letter ‘did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance’ of the report.
Wrote Mueller: ‘The summary letter the Department sent to Congress and released to the public late in the afternoon of March 24 did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance of this office’s work and conclusions.’
‘There is now public confusion about critical aspects of the results of our investigation. This threatens to undermine a central purpose for which the Department appointed the Special Counsel: to assure full public confidence in the outcome of the investigations,’ Mueller added.
The two men had a subsequent phone call that Barr spoke about sparingly during his own testimony in the Senate.
Barr ultimately publicly released the bulk of the report, although Democrats want the release of redacted information that Barr held back to protect people’s reputations as well as to protect secret Grand Jury information and intelligence information.
After weeks of back and forth with the administration, Nadler told MSNBC last week that Mueller ‘doesn’t want to participate in anything that he might regard as a political spectacle.’
‘We’re saying we think it’s important for the American people to hear from him and to hear his answers to questions about the report,’ Nadler added.
Mueller was famously publicity adverse during his nearly two-year investigation. He never gave a press conference, and took pains to stay out of the limelight. His absence from the public scene was such that it made news when he was spotted in an airport and at an Apple store.
Mueller’s report found that the ‘Russian government interfered in the 2016 presidential election in sweeping and systemic fashion.’
It cited the hack of Democratic National Committee emails and of information ‘damaging to Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton,’ and said the Russian government was behind the effort. Prosecutors rand down a string of leads, including an infamous Trump Tower meeting with Russians in June 2016, and back-and-forth between Trump and his aides over a misleading statement describing how the meeting got set up.
Mueller’s team of prosecutors also examined ten areas of potential obstruction of justice by Trump – including statements by Trump’s own staffers that he ordered them to force out Mueller. They also examined Trump’s conduct toward former campaign chair Paul Manafort, who is now serving a 7 1/2 year prison sentence on tax and money laundering charges. They also delved into a Trump Moscow tower project that former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, who is also in jail, did not reveal during his own initial House testimony.
The report stated that ‘if we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the President clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state.’ But it said they were ‘unable to reach that judgment.’
In another of its famous conclusions, Mueller’s report states: ‘Accordingly, while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.’
There were scant clues about how Trump would respond to the man whose inquiry he blames for tormenting him for two years of his presidency and repeatedly labels a ‘witch hunt.
There was no Marine stationed outside the West Wing Wednesday morning, which would suggest Trump had made his way to his office.
The White House would not say whether Trump was planning to make a statement after Mueller.
There were not any indications of an event being set up in the Rose Garden, a natural venue for any presidential push-back, although the mercury in Washington was expected to reach the 90s.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders issued a ‘no comment’ when asked if the White House was informed in advance what Mueller would say.
Fifteen shocking revelations from the Mueller report
Many of these revelations do not involve President Trump directly, but rather the people around him, from his family to his administration.
From Jared Kushner, Paul Manafort and Donald Trump Jr avoiding charges due to their ignorance and Sarah Sanders admitting she supplied false information to the press, to the money Betsy DeVos’ brother fronted to try and get Hillary Clinton‘s emails, here are the 15 most shocking revelations.
Sarah Sanders provides the press with false information
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders is seen above holding a press briefing on May 10, 2017
The reasoning behind President Trump’s decision to fire James Comey was the focus of the White House press briefing on May 10, 2017.
Sarah Sanders told the reporters in attendance that the Department of Justice, President Trump and members of Congress on both sides of the aisle had lost confidence in the FBI director.
Then she took things one step further by stating: ‘[a]nd most importantly, the rank and file of the FBI had lost confidence in their director. Accordingly, the President accepted the recommendation of his Deputy Attorney General to remove James Comey from his position.’
It was then noted by one reporter that a ‘vast majority’ of agents supported Comey, prompting the press secretary to note: ‘Look, we’ve heard from countless members of the FBI that say very different things.’
Sanders later admitted that her comment about speaking to ‘countless members’ of the FBI was a ‘slip of the tongue’, and that the remark about the ‘rank-and-file’ FBI agents losing their confidence in Comey was unfounded and ‘made in the heat of the moment’.
She never informed the press of this ‘slip of the tongue’ or unfounded comment.
Donald Trump Jr is a mouthpiece for WikiLeaks
Donald Trump Jr. got a message that read: ‘Great to see you and your dad talking about our publications. Strongly suggest your dad tweets this link if he mentions us’
On October 3, 2016, the WikiLeaks Twitter sent a direct message to Donald Trump Jr asking ‘you guys’ to share a post that alleged Hillary Clinton ‘had advocated using a drone to target Julian Assange’.
Trump Jr revealed he had already done so, and began to talk about WikiLeaks with increasing frequency.
On October 12 he got another message that read: ‘Great to see you and your dad talking about our publications. Strongly suggest your dad tweets this link if he mentions us.’
He was the given a link to to help in ‘digging through’ leaked emails, while being told that the organization had ‘just released Podesta emails Part 4.’
Trump Jr shared the link two days later.
President Trump launches search for Hillary Clinton’s emails
Multiple individuals were involved in finding 30,000 deleted Clinton emails including former White House strategist Steve Bannon and Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway
Then-candidate Trump asked those affiliated with his campaign to find the 30,000 deleted emails.
‘Michael Flynn… recalled that Trump made this request repeatedly, and Flynn subsequently contacted multiple people in an effort to obtain the emails. Barbara Ledeen and Peter Smith were among the people contacted by Flynn,’ states the report.
Multiple individuals were soon involved, including former White House strategist Steve Bannon and Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway.
Ledeen and Smith would often communicate regarding efforts to retrieve the emails, and Smith drafted several emails suggesting he was in contact with Russian hackers.
‘[I]n one such email, Smith claimed that, in August 2016, KLS Research had organized meetings with parties who had access to the deleted Clinton emails, including partieswith ties and affiliations to Russia,’ said the report.
‘The investigation did not establish that Smith was in contact with Russian hackers or that Smith, Ledeen, or other individuals in touch with the Trump Campaign ultimately obtained the deleted Clinton emails.’
Erik Prince funds the vetting of Hillary’s emails
When emails that may have come from Hillary Clinton needed to be vetted, it was Betsy DeVos’ brother who put up the money to have them examined.
Barbara Ledeen, whose husband had co-authored a book with General Michael Flynn, had emails that she claimed were from the ‘dark web.’
A tech adviser was needed to authenticate the emails, and so Ledeen started to solicit donations.
Erik Prince agreed to find the operation, which ultimately concluded that the emails were not in fact real.
Manafort’s lost millions
Former Donald Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort is seen at the Republican National Convention, in Cleveland in July 2016
Paul Manafort did not have many job prospects at the time he came on board to work for the Trump campaign, and was of the belief that taking a role would be ‘good for business’.
That was a reference to the $2 million he was owed for work he did for questionable operatives in the country that he had not been paid for at that time.
He also hoped that his new job might help him get Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska a visa, and that the man would in turn drop a lawsuit against him.
And for reasons that are still somewhat unclear, Manafort kept Ukrainian political consultant Konstantin Kilimnik abreast of all developments in the campaign and how Trump was polling.
Robert Mueller goes clubbing
‘In October 2011, Mueller resigned his family’s membership from Trump National Golf Club in Sterling, Virginia, in a letter that noted that “we live in the District and find that we are unable to make full use of the Club” and that inquired “whether we would be entitled to a refund of a portion of our initial membership fee,” which was paid in 1994,’ notes the report. Mueller is seen above
President Trump wanted Mueller gone in the days following his appointment, and began to toss out potential conflicts
He pointed out that ‘Mueller had interviewed for the FBI Director position,’ that ‘he had worked for a law firm that represented people affiliated with the President,’ and that he had disputed fees at a Trump golf club he belonged to in Virginia.
That claim was played up, even though the reality of the situation told a much different story.
‘In October 2011, Mueller resigned his family’s membership from Trump National Golf Club in Sterling, Virginia, in a letter that noted that “we live in the District and find that we are unable to make full use of the Club” and that inquired “whether we would be entitled to a refund of a portion of our initial membership fee,” which was paid in 1994,’ notes the report.
‘About two weeks later, the controller of the club responded that the Muellers’ resignation would be effective October 31, 2011, and that they would be “placed on a waitlist to be refunded on a first resigned I first refunded basis.”‘
Hope Hicks hangs up on Putin
Former White House Communications Director Hope Hicks is seen in this February 2018 photo
Hope Hicks received a phone call from a unknown Russian man shortly after President Trump’s victory on election night.
Unsure who it was she instructed the person to email her, but did hear the words ‘Putin call.’
She received an email the next morning from Sergey Kuznetsov, an official at the Russian Embassy to the United States, with the subject line ‘Message from Putin.’
The letter congratulated Trump and noted that he was looking forward to the two men working together, but Hicks was afraid to pass it along to her boss.
So she instead decided to email Jared Kushner, asking: ‘Can you look into this? Don’t want to get duped but don’t want to blow off Putin!’
Kushner said the best way to do this would be by contact the ambassador, but was unable to remember his name.
That man was Sergey Kislyak, and within days Kushner and General Flynn were meeting with him at Trump Tower to discuss setting up a secure line between President Trump and Putin.
President Trump is f***ed
‘Oh my God. This is terrible. This is the end of my Presidency. I’ m f***ed.,’ said President Trump while slumping in his chair. Trump is pictured above last month
On May 17, 2017, Robert Mueller was named Special Counsel by Rod Rosenstein.
Notes taken from a meeting that day revealed that when then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions informed President Trump of the news he was less than thrilled about the appointment.
‘Oh my God. This is terrible. This is the end of my Presidency. I’ m f***ed.,’ said President Trump while slumping in his chair.
‘How could you let this happen, Jeff?’
President Trump then continued to bemoan the news, telling Sessions: “You were supposed to protect me’ and noting: ‘Everyone tells me if you get one of these independent counsels it ruins your presidency.’
Wise guys Jared Kushner and Donald Trump Jr
Donald Trump, Donald Trump Jr. and Jared Kushner are seen above in a file photo from a book party in 2009
Donald Trump Jr, Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort managed to avoid being charged for violating campaign finance law by not being smart enough to know that they were engaging in unlawful activity.
In summarizing his findings from the infamous June 2016 meeting between members of the Trump campaign and Russian Natalia Veselnitskaya, Robert Mueller wrote that unlawful activity did take place, but the men who broke them were unaware of their illegal actions.
‘On the facts here, the government would unlikely be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the June 9 meeting participants had general knowledge that their conduct was unlawful,’ reads the report.
‘The investigation has not developed evidence that the participants in the meeting were familiar with the foreign-contribution ban or the application of federal law to the relevant factual context.’
‘Even assuming that the promised “documents and information that would incriminate Hillary” constitute a “thing of value” under campaign-finance law, the government would encounter other challenges in seeking to obtain and sustain a conviction,’ wrote Mueller.
He then explained how reasonable doubt would make it hard to convict Don Jr and Kushner.
‘To prove that a defendant acted “knowingly and willfully,” the government would have to show that the defendant had general knowledge that his conduct was unlawful,’ wrote Mueller.
In closing out the reasons why no charges would be pursued, Mueller broke down the potential problems with getting a conviction for the three campaign members.
‘Additionally, in light of the unresolved legal questions about whether giving “documents and information” of the sort offered here constitutes a campaign contribution, Trump Jr. could mount a factual defense that he did not believe his response to the offer and the June 9 meeting itself violated the law,’ wrote Mueller.
‘Given his less direct involvement in arranging the June 9 meeting, Kushner could likely mount a similar defense.’
He then noted: ‘And, while Manafort is experienced with political campaigns, the Office has not developed evidence showing that he had relevant knowledge of these legal issues.’
The Steele dossier lives on
The dossier prepared by former agent Christopher Steele (seen above) claiming that a compromising tape of President Trump was in the possession of powerful Russians is backed up by Mueller
The dossier prepared by former agent Christopher Steele claiming that a compromising tape of President Trump was in the possession of powerful Russians is backed up by Mueller.
The nature of the tape is unknown, but in October 2016 Michael Cohen receive a message from a Russian businessman by the name of Giorgi Rtskhiladze.
‘Stopped flow of tapes from Russia but not sure if there’s anything else. Just so you know,’ stated that message in part.
Those tapes were ‘rumored to be held by persons associated with the Russian real estate conglomerate Crocus Group, which had helped host the 2013 Miss Universe Pageant in Russia.’
Hacking in hours
On July 27, 2016, Trump appeared at a rally where he stated: ‘Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing. I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.’
That was a reference to the emails stored on Clinton’s server.
It took just five hours for GRU officers to target Clinton’s personal office in an attempt to hack into the system and obtain the emails.
Seth Rich exonerated
The report states once and for all, and without a shadow of a doubt, that murdered DNC worker Seth Rich (pictured) did not help leak emails
The report states once and for all, and without a shadow of a doubt, that murdered DNC worker Seth Rich did not help leak emails.
‘Beginning in the summer of 2016, Julian Assange and WikiLeaks made a number of statements about Seth Rich, a former DNC staff member who was killed in July 2016,’ states the report.
‘The statements about Rich implied falsely that he had been the source of the stolen DNC emails.’
Despite this, Assange still used the boy’s death to strongly suggest he was the source of the leaked emails to the cryptic statements he made at the time.
‘ANNOUNCE: WikiLeaks has decided to issue a US$20k reward for information leading to conviction for the murder of DNC staffer Seth Rich,’ tweeted the WikiLeaks account after his death.
And when asked about his interested in the murder, Assange said: ‘We’re very interested in anything that might be a threat to alleged WikiLeaks sources.’
Trump goes silent
Mueller’s team did not issue a subpoena to force President Trump to give an interview to the special counsel because it would have created a ‘substantial delay’ at a late stage in the investigation.
President Trump refused an oral interview and provided only written answers for the questions he was willing to answer.
‘We also assessed that based on the significant body of evidence we had already obtained of the President’s actions and his public and private statements describing or explaining those actions, we had sufficient evidence to understand relevant events and to make certain assessments without the President’s testimony,’ states the report.
Friends and frenemies
Trump and his former campaign manager Paul Manafort are seen at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland on July 21, 2016
Mueller said evidence he collected indicates Trump intended to encourage his former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, not to cooperate with the investigation.
There was also evidence that appeared to support the idea that Trump wanted Manafort to believe that he could receive a presidential pardon.
‘During Manafort’s prosecution and when the jury in his criminal trial was deliberating, the President praised Manafort in public, said that Manafort was being treated unfairly, and declined to rule out a pardon,’ notes the report.
‘After Manafort was convicted, the President called Manafort “a brave man” for refusing to “break” and said that “flipping” “almost ought to be outlawed.’
By contrast, he expressed ‘hostility’ towards General Flynn after learning he was cooperating with the investigation.
‘Our investigation found multiple acts by the President that were capable of exerting undue influence over law enforcement investigations, including the Russian-interference and obstruction investigations,’ reads the report.
‘The incidents were often carried out through one-on-one meetings in which the President sought to use his official power outside of usual channels.
‘These actions ranged from efforts to remove the Special Counsel and to reverse the effect of the Attorney General’s recusal; to the attempted use of official power to limit the scope of the investigation; to direct and indirect contacts with witnesses with the potential to influence their testimony.’