President TrumpDonald TrumpSix big off-year elections you might be missing Twitter suspends GOP Rep. Banks for misgendering trans health official Meghan McCain to Trump: 'Thanks for the publicity' MORE said Wednesday that “nothing changes” after special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerSenate Democrats urge Garland not to fight court order to release Trump obstruction memo Why a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG Barr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel MORE explained during his first comments on the Russia investigation why he did not charge the president with obstruction of justice.
“Nothing changes from the Mueller Report. There was insufficient evidence and therefore, in our Country, a person is innocent. The case is closed! Thank you,” he tweeted.
Nothing changes from the Mueller Report. There was insufficient evidence and therefore, in our Country, a person is innocent. The case is closed! Thank you.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 29, 2019
White House press secretary Sarah HuckabeeSarah SandersTrump expected to resume rallies in June Andrew Giuliani planning run for New York governor Trump appears at Sarah Huckabee Sanders campaign event MORE Sanders minutes later reiterated Trump’s stance that it is time to move on from the two-year probe, saying Mueller’s report was “clear” that the president did not commit a crime and that the special counsel “explicitly said that he has nothing to add beyond the report.”
“After two years, the special counsel is moving on with his life, and everyone else should do the same,” she said in a statement.
Mueller said he believed he could not charge Trump with a crime due to longstanding Justice Department (DOJ) guidelines stating that a sitting president cannot be indicted while in office, telling reporters it was “not an option we could consider,” and emphasized he did not exonerate the Trump.
“If we had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said that,” Mueller said. “We did not, however, make a determination as to whether the president did commit a crime.”
That description appeared to conflict with the account of Attorney General William BarrBill BarrMeadows hires former deputy AG to represent him in Jan. 6 probe: report Why it's time for conservatives to accept the 2020 election results and move on Bannon's subpoena snub sets up big decision for Biden DOJ MORE, who said last month that Mueller’s decision did not hinge on the DOJ guidelines. Barr wrote in his letter summarizing the investigation that Mueller did not find “sufficient” evidence to charge Trump, but the special counsel did not repeat that claim during his statement.
Mueller did not mention impeachment directly, but said, “the Constitution requires a process other than the criminal justice system to formally accuse a sitting president of wrongdoing.”
The special counsel’s comments fueled the roiling debate among Democrats on Capitol Hill over whether to open impeachment proceedings, a move that Trump has repeatedly said would be unjust and politically motivated.
Mueller delivered remarks at the Justice Department to announce a formal end to the two-year investigation, saying he was closing the special counsel’s office and he was not inclined to testify to Congress about his findings.
He stressed that Russia undertook “multiple, systematic efforts” to interfere in the 2016 presidential election, an event that “deserves the attention of every American.”
Trump campaign manager Brad ParscaleBrad ParscaleAides tried to get Trump to stop attacking McCain in hopes of clinching Arizona: report MORE said the public’s focus should turn to the origins of the Russia probe, which he called a “hoax,” and argued there is a need for an investigation into “why the Trump campaign was spied on by the Obama-era DOJ and FBI.”
Updated at 12:37 p.m.