Well it was only 10 minutes and delivered without emotion, but we finally heard directly from Robert Mueller. The full video is at the end of the post.
It’s hard to sum up how he really feels, he did provide some cover for Barr and say he wasn’t going to speak to congress. Here’s what went down
Mueller walked on and said he wasn’t taking questions and hoped to never speak in public about this again.
Then he basically disgorged his opinion of his legal mandate and goals. He cleared up who he was responsible to (mostly the Acting Deputy Attorney General) and what his mandate was. He stressed he could ONLY investigate. In other words – Mueller’s opinion of his mandate could be summed up as – He had investigative authority, but no legal teeth. The president is un-Indictable, at least by him, merely because he’s president and that’s all there is to that.
So after again thanking his team Mueller sort of underscored what he thought was the most important things in his report. It would seem to have a disregard for the present circumstance. At best it could be called forward looking.
We’re Under Attack
He stressed that there was a coordinated and elaborate attack on our 2016 Election by Russia. Both the Kremlin and some kind of private entities were involved. Wikileaks was used to launder the information and get the Russians some deniability.
He said it was done with the aim of ‘influencing” opinions and ‘to damage a candidate.’ That candidate can only have been Hillary Clinton. He didn’t speak her name, but really, who else could it have been? He repeated the interference was ‘extensive’. It seems pretty clear we saw Putin’s hand here.
Then he went to his report and specified Volume 1, which is about the Russian efforts and whether Trump coordinated with them. It was inconclusive as to direct conspiracy, but maybe not because he didn’t think Trump had tried something. He would refer to the limits of his mandate, that you can’t charge a sitting president, was the governing philosophy of why no charges were filed.
Then he specified Volume 2, which dealt with Presidential Obstruction and obstruction of the Investigation. Again he referred to his mandate and said there was no Indicting the president under seal either. So Mueller’s view is hands were tied.
With confidence he said in so many words “It’s UnConstitutional” for the Special Counsel to Indict a sitting president. He alluded to Justice Department policy as the reason that he could do nothing about Obstruction as far as charges and Indictments. He again alluded to his limited mandate as the big reason there was no charging Trump.
More than anything else he spoke of how very limited his legal mandate really was.
Over and over Mueller deferred to his mandate about not being able to Indict rather than cleared the president. He said plainly he had ‘no confidence’ the president had NOT committed a crime.
Mueller made it very clear he could not clear the president. This is about the strongest thing he could say under his interpretation of his mandate. He seemed to be saying that anyone else would be looking at getting arrested over this and confirming the broken nature of our Justice System. He seemed more concerned about the coming election than anything President Trump may have done to this point, despite saying he was prosecutable outside of Office.
It seems Mueller really wanted us to be aware he NEVER had authority to indict the president. He stated policy and law as to why HE COULD NOT INDICT OR CHARGE THE PRESIDENT, NO MATTER WHAT HE FOUND.
One curious thing he said was that since there was no method to try the president legally while he was in office he had decided he simply couldn’t charge him based on that. The decision notably was NOT because he didn’t think Trump was guilty. In fact, he seemed to be saying he thought the law shielded the president from the consequences of illegal behavior more than anything else aside from the deep concern over the next election.
He then again thanked his staff and categorized his staff and investigation were ethical and professional.
He repeated that he wasn’t taking questions.
Mueller- He’s Not a Player; He’s The Official
In essence Mueller didn’t so much punt to congress. That’s because PLAYERS punt. Mueller has cast himself (or felt locked to the role) more as the referee or some other official. So like an NFL official what he did was turn on his mic, address the crowd, explain the penalty and handed the ball to congress.
Could you say that when he hands the congress the ball on Impeachment it’s on the GOP’s own 20 yard line. Mueller’s message between the lines seems to be “You’ll easily score a field goal if not a touchdown if you pursue these charges I laid out because if he wasn’t president he’d be a criminal. He may just leave the White House for the Big House.”
Mueller may be right on about the biggest issue now that all is said and done being keeping the next election clean of Russian (and all other) interference.
And that’s what Robert Mueller said.
Here’s the whole statement