Robert Mueller Testifies: President Trump Was Not Exonerated
Robert Mueller, the special counsel who spent two years digging into Russian interference in the 2016 election, gave testimony to the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, saying that President Donald Trump had not been exonerated by his report.
“Did you totally exonerate the president?” asked Jerrold Nadler, the Democratic chairman of the committee.
“No,” Mueller responded. “The finding indicates that the president was not exculpated for the acts he allegedly committed.”
In his opening statement, Mueller reiterated his position that he would not give testimony that goes beyond his report. He also said he would not answer questions about the origins of the FBI investigation into the president’s campaign, or the memo authored by Christopher Steele, both of which have received attention from the committee’s Republicans.
The Mueller report found there was not enough evidence to prosecute any American for conspiring with the Russian government’s effort to hack emails and interfere with the election. The second volume of the report detailed evidence of Trump’s efforts to stymie the investigation, but did not make a prosecutorial conclusion about obstruction of justice.
Nadler sought to clarify why the president had not been accused, referring to an Office of Legal Counsel opinion that the president cannot be prosecuted while in office.
“The statement would be you would not indict, and you would not indict because under the OLC opinion a sitting president could not be indicted,” Mueller said.
Doug Collins, the ranking Republican on the committee, said he hoped that Mueller’s testimony would bring “closure” to the investigation.
“The president’s attitude toward the investigation was understandably negative, yet the president did not use his authority to end the investigation,” Collins said.
Rep. James Sensenbrenner, a Republican from Wisconsin, noted that the report does not refer to any of the acts as impeachable conduct.
“We have studiously kept in the center of our investigation our mandate,” Mueller said. “Our mandate does not go to other ways of addressing conduct.”
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