In a surprise statement Wednesday morning, Robert Mueller announced that the special counsel’s office is closing and he is resigning from the Department of Justice. He also said he has little interest in testifying in front of Congress.
In the brief statement, Mueller quickly ran through the conclusions of the 448-page report into Russian election interference that was released last month. He said Russia made “multiple, systematic efforts to interfere in our election,” but as it relates to the Trump campaign’s involvement in those efforts, there was “insufficient evidence to charge a broader conspiracy.”
On the issue of obstruction, Mueller emphasized that Justice Department policy prohibits the indictment of a sitting president. “That is unconstitutional,” he said.
“If we had had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so,” Mueller said from the lectern. It’s a point that was also made in the special counsel report. “We did not, however, make a determination as to whether the president did commit a crime.”
These parts of his statement seemed to garner the most attention from Trump’s adversaries in Congress. By saying that indicting Trump was “not an option” and declining to clear him, Mueller seemed to signal to some lawmakers that it’s time to get more aggressive on impeachment.
Mueller also addressed the ongoing discussion about whether he will testify to Congress about his findings. He said no one has told him that he shouldn’t talk to Congress about the report. But, he added, he doesn’t really want to. “I would not provide information beyond what is already public,” he said.