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Bharara, Yates tamp down expectations Mueller will bring criminal charges

Former acting Attorney General Sally Yates and former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said Wednesday that it will be difficult for special counsel Robert Mueller to prove criminal conduct in his probe into possible coordination between the President Trump's campaign and Russia.

"I know a lot of people are sort of putting all their hopes into Bob Mueller. And I've got tremendous confidence in Bob Mueller," Yates said in a joint interview with Bharara at Vanity Fair's New Establishment Summit in New York, according to The Wall Street Journal.

"But the fact of the matter is, he's going to determine whether there's proof beyond a reasonable doubt that felonies were committed, that crimes were committed that can be used for prosecution or impeachment," she added.

Bharara emphasized that Mueller's investigation is intended to "find out the truth and apply the law and facts fairly" and said that he could ultimately decide against bringing a case.

"He may not decide that there is an offense to be charged or referred to the House of Representatives for impeachment. And I'll respect that. And I think people who are on one side of the fence should respect that also," he said, according to the Journal.

Mueller is conducting the criminal investigation into Russia's efforts to meddle in the 2016 presidential election, as well as possible collusion between associates of Trump and Russia.

Yates was fired by Trump in January after she said the Justice Department would not defend the president's first travel ban in court. That executive order barred citizens of seven predominantly Muslim countries from entering the U.S. for 90 days.

Bharara was fired in March after declining to resign when the Trump administration requested that remaining Obama-era U.S. attorneys step down from their posts. He said that Trump had asked him during the presidential transition to stay on.

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