Democratic rep: Mueller is 'protecting' Trump out of 'extreme fairness'

Democratic rep: Mueller is 'protecting' Trump out of 'extreme fairness'
© Greg Nash

Rep. Mike QuigleyMichael (Mike) Bruce QuigleyTransgender detainees need protection — a letter from lawmakers doesn't provide it Lawmakers to call on ICE to release all transgender detainees House votes to impeach Trump MORE (D-Ill.) said early Thursday that special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerSchiff: Trump acquittal in Senate trial would not signal a 'failure' Jeffries blasts Trump for attack on Thunberg at impeachment hearing Live coverage: House Judiciary to vote on impeachment after surprise delay MORE is “protecting” President TrumpDonald John TrumpKaine: Obama called Trump a 'fascist' during 2016 campaign Kaine: GOP senators should 'at least' treat Trump trial with seriousness of traffic court Louise Linton, wife of Mnuchin, deletes Instagram post in support of Greta Thunberg MORE out of “extreme fairness” by not indicting him.

“The irony of yesterday was, the special counsel is an honorable person who follows the rule of law more than anyone I’ve ever witnessed,” Quigley, who sits on the House Intelligence Committee, said on CNN. "At the same time, in his moment of extreme fairness, he is protecting a president of the United States who has absolutely no concern for the rule of law, who is flaunting it."

Quigley’s comments come a day after Mueller maintained in rare public remarks that he could not exonerate Trump of any wrongdoing and that Justice Department guidelines would have prevented him from filing any charges against the president.

Mueller said in his final report earlier this year that he did not find evidence that Trump conspired with Russia's interference in the 2016 presidential election, but that he would not make a prosecutorial decision on whether the president obstructed probes into the interference.

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The special counsel doubled down on his conclusion on Wednesday, saying, “If we had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said that.”

Mueller’s remarks stirred up an existing debate within the Democratic Party over whether to begin impeachment proceedings into the president. Democrats appeared united, however, in their calls for the special counsel to testify.

“I have the greatest respect for the special counsel, but he doesn’t get to decide whether or not he testifies before the American people. And he doesn’t get to decide which questions he can talk about. He clearly can’t decide that he’s only going to talk about what’s already in the report,” Quigley said on Thursday.

Mueller, however, appears reluctant to testify publicly, telling reporters Wednesday that “the report is my testimony.”