Graham after Mueller press briefing: 'For me, the case is over'

Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamYates spars with GOP at testy hearing Trump knocks Sally Yates ahead of congressional testimony Republicans uncomfortably playing defense MORE (R-S.C.), the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and a staunch ally of President TrumpDonald John TrumpLincoln Project ad dubs Jared Kushner the 'Secretary of Failure' Pence: Chief Justice Roberts 'has been a disappointment to conservatives' Twitter bans Trump campaign until it deletes tweet with COVID-19 misinformation MORE, said Wednesday that he believed the “case is over” regarding special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerCNN's Toobin warns McCabe is in 'perilous condition' with emboldened Trump CNN anchor rips Trump over Stone while evoking Clinton-Lynch tarmac meeting The Hill's 12:30 Report: New Hampshire fallout MORE’s investigation after Mueller gave his first public remarks on his two-year investigation surrounding Trump and his campaign.

Graham’s comments came shortly after Mueller held a press conference in which he said indicting Trump was not an option given existing Justice Department guidelines.

ADVERTISEMENT

“Today’s statement by Mr. Mueller reinforces the findings of his report. And as for me, the case is over. Mr. Mueller has decided to move on and let the report speak for itself. Congress should follow his lead,” Graham said in a statement. 

“As Mr. Mueller said today, the report speaks for itself. The report shows that there was no collusion between the Trump campaign and any member or operative of the Russian government.” 

Trump on Wednesday said the "case is closed" following Mueller's remarks.  

“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.

Mueller's report did not find sufficient evidence to charge Trump with conspiring with Moscow to meddle in the 2016 presidential election but declined to make a prosecutorial decision in his April report about whether to the president obstructed subsequent investigations into the interference, outlining 10 “episodes” of behavior that was possibly obstructive.  

Half of Mueller's more than 400-page report released last month laid out a case that Trump may have sought to obstruct Mueller's investigation, but the special counsel declined to bring forward such a charge. Attorney General William BarrBill BarrTrump administration awarding M in housing grants to human trafficking survivors Trump stokes conspiracy about Epstein death, stands by wishes for Ghislaine Maxwell Democrats' silence on our summer of violence is a tactical blunder MORE later said he and then-Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod RosensteinFBI officials hid copies of Russia probe documents fearing Trump interference: book Sally Yates to testify as part of GOP probe into Russia investigation Graham releases newly declassified documents on Russia probe MORE reviewed the evidence and found it insufficient to charge Trump with a crime.

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

Graham said he would take Barr and Rosenstein’s conclusion as final and urged the Senate to work together to prevent future election interference.

“Without an underlying offense or collusion, and the overwhelming cooperation by the Trump White House with the Mueller investigation, the Attorney General’s decision on obstruction is sound.  It will be the final word in my view,” the South Carolina senator said. “It is now time to move on and to work together in a bipartisan fashion to harden our election infrastructure against future attempts by Russia and other bad actors.”

Graham has left the door open for Mueller to appear in front of the Senate panel should he choose to do so, but said he would not issue a subpoena forcing his testimony.

The special counsel indicated Wednesday that he has no desire to speak publicly in the future in the face of calls from several House committee members for his testimony.

“I hope and expect this to be the only time I will speak in this manner,” he said. “The report is my testimony.”