Mueller in rare statement pushes back on top aide’s criticism of investigation
Former special counsel Robert Mueller issued a rare statement Tuesday pushing back against criticism after a former aide argued in a book that investigators could have done more in their investigation into President Trump.
Andrew Weissmann, one of the lead prosecutors on Mueller’s team investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election, released a book Tuesday titled “Where Law Ends” that alleges the group failed to fully investigate Trump’s financial ties and should have explicitly stated that they believed he obstructed justice.
Mueller detailed a number of “episodes” of potentially obstructive behavior amid his probe but ultimately drew no conclusion as to whether Trump obstructed justice.
“It is not surprising that members of the Special Counsel’s Office did not always agree, but it is disappointing to hear criticism of our team based on incomplete information,” Mueller said in a statement Tuesday obtained by multiple outlets, including NPR and The Washington Post.
Mueller’s statement did not explicitly name Weissmann’s book, though it did appear to address central claims made in the former aide’s book. The former special counsel defended his top deputy, Aaron Zebley, who Weissmann claimed was not aggressive enough in the investigation.
“He was an invaluable and trusted counselor to me from start to finish,” Mueller said of Zebley.
Among other claims, Weissmann said in his book that the investigation was dwindled by fears that Trump would either fire those leading the investigation or pardon anyone indicted by prosecutors.
“The office’s mission was to follow the facts and to act with integrity,” Mueller said. “That is what we did, knowing that our work would be scrutinized from all sides. When important decisions had to be made, I made them.
“I did so as I have always done, without any interest in currying favor or fear of the consequences. I stand by those decisions and by the conclusions of our investigation.”
Mueller wrapped up his sprawling nearly two-year probe into the Trump campaign and its contacts with Russian officials in March 2019. The former special counsel found that while Russia actively tried to help Trump win the 2016 election that campaign aides were either unaware or not fully receptive to the efforts.
The special counsel said he did not reach a conclusion on the question of obstruction, though Attorney General William Barr later said he and then-Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein reviewed evidence laid out in the report and found it insufficient to accuse the president of obstructing the probe.
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