Mulvaney: Mueller report 'not designed' to exonerate Trump

Acting White House chief of staff Mick MulvaneyJohn (Mick) Michael MulvaneyThe Hill's Morning Report: Trump walks back from 'send her back' chants Trump faces new hit on deficit GOP wants commitment that Trump will sign budget deal MORE said Sunday that special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerTop Republican considered Mueller subpoena to box in Democrats 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's investigation was "not designed" to exonerate President TrumpDonald John TrumpCould Donald Trump and Boris Johnson be this generation's Reagan-Thatcher? Merkel backs Democratic congresswomen over Trump How China's currency manipulation cheats America on trade MORE.

"That is not what these documents do," Mulvaney said when asked why Trump has claimed exoneration from obstruction charges despite the fact that the report explicitly says it does not exonerate him. 


"When you do an investigation like this, there's typically two outcomes: Either criminal indictments come down, or it just quietly goes away," he continued. "These types of investigations are not designed to exonerate people."

Last weekend, Attorney General William BarrWilliam Pelham BarrHouse gears up for Mueller testimony History in the House: Congress weathers unprecedented week Court filings show Trump, Cohen contacts amid hush money payments MORE sent a letter to Congress detailing the top-level findings from Mueller's 22-month investigation.

According to Barr, the investigation was unable to find any evidence proving collusion between Trump's 2016 campaign and Russia.

Trump and his supporters have taken a victory lap following the letter, with the president claiming "complete and total exoneration."

On the question of obstruction of justice, however, the special counsel did not make a determination, according to Barr.

"While this report does not conclude that the president committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him," Mueller wrote in his report, according to Barr.

Barr and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein decided not to pursue an obstruction charge after reviewing the special counsel's findings.

Mulvaney said that decision has cleared Trump.

"So that’s why we are absolutely comfortable saying the president has been fully exonerated," he said Sunday.