President Donald Trump on Thursday railed against special counsel Robert Mueller’s statement the day before by mischaracterizing Mueller’s conclusions and falsely suggesting that the investigation exonerated him ― despite Mueller’s insistence that it did not.
In a series of early-morning tweets, Trump falsely claimed that “highly conflicted Robert Mueller would have brought charges, if he had ANYTHING, but there were no charges to bring!”
Mueller had explained on Wednesday that he could not, in fact, bring charges because of Department of Justice legal guidance that states that a president cannot be charged with a crime.
“If we had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said that,” Mueller said Wednesday. “A president cannot be charged with a federal crime while he is in office. That is unconstitutional... Charging the president with a crime was therefore not an option we could consider.”
In his remarks, Mueller strongly hinted at congressional impeachment proceedings against Trump, saying that the Constitution “requires a process other than the criminal justice system to formally accuse a sitting president of wrongdoing.”
Trump on Thursday also falsely claimed that “Mueller didn’t find Obstruction either.”
While Mueller’s team did not reach a conclusion as to whether Trump obstructed justice, its report outlined several examples of potential obstruction of justice.
“Our investigation found multiple acts by the President that were capable of exerting undue influence over law enforcement investigations, including the Russian-interference and obstruction investigations,” the report reads. “These incidents were often carried out through on-on-one meetings in which the President sought to use his official power outside official channels.”
The report explains that Mueller and his team could not reach a clear conclusion because it would have required proving that Trump intended to obstruct justice.
However, it made it clear that the investigation “does not exonerate him.”
“If we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the President clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state. Based on the facts and the applicable legal standards, we are unable to reach that judgment,” the report reads. “Accordingly, while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.”