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

Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamSunday shows preview: Lawmakers gear up for Senate impeachment trial Parnas pressure grows on Senate GOP Senate GOP mulls speeding up Trump impeachment trial MORE (R-S.C.), the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and a staunch ally of President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump's newest Russia adviser, Andrew Peek, leaves post: report Hawley expects McConnell's final impeachment resolution to give White House defense ability to motion to dismiss Trump rips New York City sea wall: 'Costly, foolish' and 'environmentally unfriendly idea' MORE, said Wednesday that he believed the “case is over” regarding 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’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.

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“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 BarrWilliam Pelham BarrDems plan marathon prep for Senate trial, wary of Trump trying to 'game' the process Pentagon to place new restrictions, monitoring on foreign military students Parnas: Environment around Trump 'like a cult' MORE later said he and then-Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod RosensteinRosenstein says he authorized release of Strzok-Page texts Journalist alleging Obama administration spied on her seeks to reopen case Rosenstein on his time in Trump administration: 'We got all the big issues right' 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.”