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Mulvaney: Mueller report 'not designed' to exonerate Trump

Acting White House chief of staff Mick MulvaneyMick MulvaneyOMB nominee gets hearing on Feb. 9 Republicans now 'shocked, shocked' that there's a deficit Financial firms brace for Biden's consumer agency chief MORE said Sunday that special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerWhy a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG Barr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel CNN's Toobin warns McCabe is in 'perilous condition' with emboldened Trump MORE's investigation was "not designed" to exonerate President TrumpDonald TrumpSenators given no timeline on removal of National Guard, Capitol fence Democratic fury with GOP explodes in House Georgia secretary of state withholds support for 'reactionary' GOP voting bills 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. 

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"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 BarrBill BarrBiden administration withdraws from Connecticut transgender athlete case Justice Department renews investigation into George Floyd's death: report Putting antifa and Black Lives Matter on notice 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.