Ex-Homeland chief 'surprised' Mueller report didn't have 'definitive conclusion' on obstruction

Former Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said Wednesday he was surprised special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerKamala Harris says her Justice Dept would have 'no choice' but to prosecute Trump for obstruction Kamala Harris says her Justice Dept would have 'no choice' but to prosecute Trump for obstruction Dem committees win new powers to investigate Trump MORE did not reach a "definitive" conclusion on whether President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump says 'Failing New York Times' should be held 'fully accountable' over Russia report Trump says 'Failing New York Times' should be held 'fully accountable' over Russia report Trump tweets ICE will begin removing 'millions' of undocumented migrants MORE obstructed justice in the probe into Russia's meddling in the 2016 election.

“I was a little surprised at the way Mr. Mueller reportedly came to his conclusion about obstruction of justice,” Johnson, who served as Pentagon general counsel and Homeland Security secretary during the Obama administration, told Hill.TV’s Krystal Ball and Buck Sexton on "Rising."

"I would have expected for the special counsel to come to a firm determination one way or another on that,” he continued. “Or to say more definitively: here are the facts as we have found them and we will leave it to the political branch of government — the Congress — to determine whether or not this rises to a high crime and misdemeanor.”

Johnson referenced a line in Attorney General William BarrWilliam Pelham BarrForeign interference is a threat to the 2020 elections — presidential interference is, too Foreign interference is a threat to the 2020 elections — presidential interference is, too America's crisis of compassion is a Constitutional crisis, too MORE's summary of the Mueller report that he sent to Congress on Sunday in which Barr wrote, "The Special Counsel states that ‘while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.’"

Barr added that he and Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod RosensteinTrump: I didn't fire Mueller since firings 'didn't work out too well' for Nixon Trump: I didn't fire Mueller since firings 'didn't work out too well' for Nixon GOP group urges Republicans to speak out on obstruction claims against Trump in new ad MORE determined based on Mueller's findings that there was "not sufficient" evidence to bring an obstruction of justice charge against Trump for interfering with the probe itself.

“The way this has been teed up now, it seems as if [Mueller] came to no definitive conclusion allowing for the attorney general to step into that and reach his own conclusion,” Johnson told Hill.TV.

The former senior Obama administration official cited the argument in calling for Mueller's report – which also found that there was no collusion between Trump's campaign and Russia during the 2016 election – to be released publicly.

“All of this is by way of saying that there’s been a 22-month investigation, a lot of people interviewed, a lot of people subpoenaed, a number of people indicted — we need to see the larger report,” he said, adding that there is a “thirst out there” to understand why almost a two-year investigation boiled down to a four-page summary.

He said even if the report can’t be fully released to the public, Congress should at the very least be able to see all of Mueller’s findings. 

“We got the bottom line result, but there’s obviously a lot more there,” he said, referring to Barr's summary. 

“Congress at a minimum ought to have access to the full report,” he added.

—Tess Bonn