Pulling a Comey: How Mueller dog-whistled Democrats into impeachment

Special counsel Robert Mueller to make statement on Russia investigation

US: Robert Mueller to make first public statement on Russia probe

For two years, Robert Mueller, the special counsel, led one of the most consequential investigations in the history of American politics - a pursuit that was the subject of endless speculation and cast an indelible cloud over Donald Trump's presidency.

Special counsel Robert Mueller says charging the United States president with a crime was "not an option" his team could consider in the Russian Federation investigation.

Leading contenders such as Harris, U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren of MA and former U.S. Congressman Beto O'Rourke of Texas had called for Trump's impeachment prior to Mueller's remarks. He tweeted, "There was insufficient evidence and therefore, in our Country, a person is innocent".

Congressional Republicans, meanwhile, rallied behind Trump and stuck to their previous stance that the Mueller investigation that the case has been closed.

The special counsel said charging a president with a crime was "not an option" his team could consider in the Russian Federation investigation, adding that he was bound by longstanding Justice Department opinions that say a president can't be indicted while in office, reported AP.

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"If we had had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so", Mr Mueller said. "That is unconstitutional", said Mueller. But Mueller declined to make a judgment on whether President Donald Trump obstructed justice, though the report outlined 10 instances in which Trump tried to impede the investigation.

Mueller's statement was relatively brief, about eight minutes, and Attorney-General William Barr was given a heads-up about what he would say, according to people who were not authorized to provide details on the record and spoke on condition of anonymity.

After the report was released, Barr appointed an attorney to examine the origins of the Russian Federation investigation, after numerous accusations from Trump that the investigation was a hoax.

Under pressure to testify before Congress, Mr Mueller did not rule it out.

"The opinion says the Constitution requires a process other than the criminal justice system to formally accuse a sitting president of wrongdoing", Mr Mueller said, referring to the Justice Department legal opinion. "Congress has a legal and moral obligation to begin impeachment proceedings immediately". However, in those words - or rather in between them - Democrats found new kindling for their battle to impeach the president.

Trump Says 'Case Closed' After Mueller Statement on Russia Probe
But as the immediate reaction to his comments made clear, there was enormous utility in his approaching the statement in this way. Harris' comments Wednesday sounded a more urgent note than her other recent remarks on impeachment.

Mueller attempted to defuse much of the last month's Beltway drama by explaining exactly why his investigation concluded what it did, and did not suggest specific courses of action.

Mueller said Wednesday he would not testify before Congress, saying "The report is my testimony". But, he said, the absence of a conclusion should not be mistaken for an exoneration of the president. A variety of party luminaries, such as House Judiciary Committee Chair Jerry Nadler (D-New York), presidential candidate Senator Cory Booker (D-New Jersey) and firebrand Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York), now doubled down on the claim.

O'Rourke has repeatedly said he supports an impeachment inquiry, and that he disagrees with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's view that impeachment proceedings would give Trump political gains. But it also did not reach a conclusion on whether the president had obstructed justice.

Mueller complained about Barr's summaries in a letter to the attorney general in March that later was made public.

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