Special counsel Bob Mueller spoke to the press for the first time since his appointment as he announced the closure of the special counsel’s office Wednesday.
Mueller reiterated the findings detailed in his report and reiterated that the report did not conclude that President Trump did not obstruct justice. Mueller said that his office did not have the option of charging the president with a crime, per Justice Department guidelines, and therefore made no determination.
“If we had confidence that the president did not commit a crime, we would have said so,” Mueller said.
“When the subject of an investigation obstructs that investigation obstructs that investigation or lies to investigators, it strikes at the core of the government’s efforts to find the truth and hold wrongdoers accountable,” Mueller said.
The special counsel explained that under Justice Department rules, it would be unconstitutional to bring charges against the president for any such crime.
“Under long-standing department policy, a president cannot be charged with a federal crime while he is in office,” Mueller said. “That is unconstitutional. Even if the charge is kept under seal and hidden from public view, that too is prohibited.”
“The special counsel’s office is part of the Department of Justice and by regulation it was bound by that department policy,” Mueller added. “Charging the president with a crime was, therefore, not an option we could consider.”
"Nothing changes from the Mueller Report," Trump replied on Twitter. "There was insufficient evidence and therefore, in our Country, a person is innocent. The case is closed! Thank you."
Mueller does not want to testify before Congress:
Mueller also addressed reports that Congressional committees are seeking his testimony. Mueller said that he has nothing to offer Congressional investigators beyond what was in the report.
“I hope and expect that this will be the only time I will speak to you,” he said. “The report is my testimony.
“I do not believe it is appropriate for me to speak further about this investigation,” he added.
Mueller closed his statement echoing a warning from his report.
“There were multiple, systematic efforts to interfere in our election,” he said. “And that allegation deserves the attention of every American.”