Mueller to Make First Public Statement About Russia Probe

Friday, 31 May, 2019

Special counsel Robert Mueller, breaking a two-year silence on his investigation into ties between Russian Federation and the Trump campaign on Wednesday, said that he believed he was constitutionally barred from charging US President Donald Trump with a crime, and emphasised that his report did not exonerate the president.

A redacted version of Mueller's report was published in April.

President Donald Trump deleted a tweet Thursday in which he suggested the Russian government helped him win the 2016 election.

In a statement, Nadler, whose committee could launch impeachment proceedings, said Mueller confirmed for the public that he "did not exonerate" Trump of obstruction of justice.

Mueller had said the opposite: arguing that guidelines by DOJ's Office of Legal Counsel prohibited him from indicting the president while in office.

Trump campaign spokeswoman Erin Perrine said Wednesday that "Trump Derangement Syndrome is real and, in Hillary's case, apparently chronic".

On Wednesday, special counsel Robert Mueller spoke about his report into Russian ties with the Trump campaign team during the 2016 election, announcing it would be his final statement on the subject. "It was a crime that didn't exist". President Trump faced an unprecedented situation.

But on the White House lawn, he said: "No, Russia did not help me get elected". "I got me elected".

"He wanted the Federal Bureau of Investigation job and didn't get it and then was picked as special counsel", he said.

Trump has blocked House committees' subpoenas and other efforts to dig into the Trump-Russia issue, insisting Mueller's report has settled everything.

But answering questions from reporters, he said the exact opposite. But his remarks, just under 10 minutes long and delivered from a Justice Department podium, were extraordinary given that he had never before discussed or characterized his findings and had stayed mute during two years of feverish public speculation.

"There may not be tanks in our streets, but make no mistake, we are witnessing an assault on the rule of law and the foundations of our democracy", Clinton said.

"It's a dirty, filthy disgusting word, and it has nothing to do with me", Trump said.

Then he referenced the impeachment clause of the Constitution, which states that Congress may impeach the executive for "high crimes and misdemeanors" - a phrase that is neither precisely defined nor limited.

Barr said earlier this year that if Mueller felt he couldn't make a traditional prosecutorial decision, he shouldn't have taken the special counsel job.

"It would be unfair to potentially accuse somebody of a crime when there can be no court resolution of the actual charge", Mueller said. "Madame president - that has a nice ring to it", she said, to laughs and cheers.

In other tweets Thursday morning, sent before departing the White House for Colorado, where he is scheduled to address a US Air Force Academy graduation ceremony, Trump defended his aggressive pushback against Mueller's probe. The president is still lambasting his political foes, including the "fake news media" for pursuing a "phony crime that didn't exist". "Could this be Obstruction?"

Mueller will not take questions after his statement, scheduled for 11 a.m. (1500 GMT) at the Justice Department.

In his tweet, Trump did not elaborate on why he considers Mueller "highly conflicted". House Majority Whip Steny H. Hoyer said Mueller "needs" to testify.

Attorney General William Barr shakes hands with U.S. Attorney John Huber at the Justice Department in Washington, D.C., in March, 2019.