Robert Mueller made it clear during his press conference that the only reason that he didn’t indict Trump was that he couldn’t.
The special counsel’s office is part of the department of justice, and by regulation, it was bound by that department policy. Charging the president with a crime was, therefore, not an option we could consider. The department’s written opinion explaining the policy makes several important points that further informed our handling of the obstruction investigation. Those points are summarized in our report and I will describe two of them for you. First, the opinion explicitly permits the investigation of a sitting president, because it is important to preserve evidence while memories are fresh and documents available. Among other things, that evidence could be used if there were co-conspirators who could be charged now.
And second, the opinion says that the constitution requires a process other than the criminal justice system to formally accuse a sitting president of wrongdoing. And beyond department policy, we were guided by principles of fairness. It would be unfair to potentially — it would be unfair to potentially accuse somebody of a crime when there can be no court resolution of the actual charge. So that was justice department policy. Those were the principles under which we operated and from them we concluded that we would not reach a determination one way or the other about whether the president committed a crime. That is the office’s — that is the office’s final position, and we will not comment on any other conclusions or hypotheticals about the president.
— Sarah Reese Jones (@PoliticusSarah) May 29, 2019
It isn’t that Mueller didn’t find evidence that Trump committed a crime. It’s that he was prohibited from charging Trump with a crime.
Mueller was a special counsel, not an independent counsel. He was governed by DOJ policy.
Mueller found evidence of criminal activity by this president, which is why the House must consider impeachment.
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Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor and Senior White House and Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association