WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump blame special counsel Robert Mueller on Thursday, career him a “never Trumper” who led a colored investigation on Russia’s interference in the 2016 election and failing to investigate his opponents who didn’t want Trump to be president.
Trump’s eruption came a day after Mueller pointedly rejected his perennial claims that he was cleared of obstruction of justice allegations and that the biennial inquiry was simply a “witch hunt.”
The president besides offered mixed messages on Russia’s efforts to help him defeat Democrat Hillary Clinton, first tweeting that he had “nothing to do with Russia portion me get elected,” then proceedings later, telling reporters: “Russia did not help me get elected.”
Trump aforementioned Mueller, who is a Republican, was “conflicted” and should have investigated law social control officials who the president claims tried to undermine him.
“Robert Mueller should have never been chosen,” Trump aforementioned, adding incorrectly that Mueller wanted the FBI director job, but the president told him no. “I think Mueller is a true never Trumper. He’s person who didn’t get a job that he wanted very badly.”
Mueller, who was appointed special counsel by Trump’s Justice Department, was antecedently FBI director, appointed by Republican President George W. Bush.
Speaking to reporters on the White House South field, Trump insisted that he’s been tough on Russia and that Moscow would have preferred Hillary Clinton as president. The special counsel’s report aforementioned Russian interference in the election helped Trump defeat Clinton,
Asked about legal document by Congress, he called it a “dirty word” and aforementioned he couldn’t imagine the courts allowing him to be impeached. “I don’t think so because there’s no crime,” he aforementioned.
Mueller aforementioned Wednesday that charging Trump with any crime in court was “not an option” because of federal rules, but he used his first public remarks on the Russia investigation to emphasize that he did not acquit the president.
“If we had had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have aforementioned so,” Mueller declared.
The special counsel’s remarks on indicting Trump marked a counter to criticism, including by attorney General William Barr, that Mueller should have reached a determination on whether the president illicitly tried to obstruct the probe by taking actions so much as firing FBI Director James Comey.
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Mueller made clear that his team never considered indicting Trump because the Justice Department prohibits the prosecution of a sitting president.
“Charging the president with a crime was therefore not an option we could consider,” Mueller aforementioned during a televised statement .
He aforementioned he believed so much an action would be constitutional.
Mueller did not use the word “legal document” but aforementioned it was the job of Congress, not the criminal justice system, to hold the president responsible for any wrongdoing.
The special counsel’s statement mostly echoed the central points of his drawn-out report, which was discharged last month with some redactions. But his remarks, just under 10 proceedings long and delivered from a Justice Department podium, were extraordinary given that he had never before discussed or characterized his collection and had stayed mute during two years of feverish public speculation.
Mueller aforementioned his work was complete and he was resigning to return to private life. Under pressure to testify before Congress, Mueller did not rule it out. But he seemed to warn lawmakers that they would not be pull more detail out of him. His report is his testimony, he aforementioned.
“So on the far side what I have aforementioned here today and what is contained in our written work,” Mueller aforementioned, “I do not believe it is appropriate for me to speak further about the investigation or to comment on the actions of the Justice Department or Congress.”
His remarks underscored the unsettled resolution, and revelations of under-the-table discontent, that attended the end of his investigation. His refusal to reach a conclusion on criminal obstruction opened the door for Barr to clear the Republican president, who in turn has cited the attorney general’s finding as proof of his innocence. Mueller has privately aired to Barr about the attorney general’s handling of the report, piece Barr has publicly aforementioned he was taken aback by the special counsel’s decision to neither acquit nor incriminate the president.
New York Rep. Jerrold Nadler aforementioned it falls to Congress to respond to the “crimes, lies and other wrongdoing of President Trump — and we will do so.” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has so far discouraged members of her caucus from exigent legal document, basic psychological feature process it would only help Trump win re-election and contention that Democrats need to follow a organized, step by step approach to investigation the president. But she hasn’t subordinate it out.
Trump has blocked House committees’ subpoenas and other efforts to dig into the Trump-Russia issue, insistence Mueller’s report has settled everything.
The report found no criminal conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia to tip the outcome of the 2016 presidential election in Trump’s favor. But it besides did not reach a conclusion on whether the president had barred justice.
Barr has aforementioned he was astonied Mueller did not reach a conclusion, though Mueller in his report and once once again in his statement Wednesday aforementioned he had no choice. Barr and Deputy attorney General Rod Rosenstein then stepped into the void, deciding on their own that the evidence was not adequate to support a criminal charge.
“Under longstanding department policy, a president cannot be charged with a federal crime piece he is in office,” Mueller aforementioned. “That is constitutional. Even if the charge is unbroken under seal and hidden from public view that, too, is prohibited.”
Associated Press writers Mary Clare Jalonick, Lisa Mascaro and Jonathan Lemire contributed to this report.