President Trump reacted to Robert Mueller’s press statement with a tweet that misrepresents Mueller’s words and work.
Whether you agree with our President’s policies or not, his falsification of facts is unmistakeable.
11AM, May 29, Robert Mueller gave a brief statement regarding the investigation he led into Russian interference in our election, along with the role government officials, including the President, may have played in it.
a little backstory on obstructive acts in the report
Robert Mueller previously submitted a report of his investigation to attorney general Bill Barr.
This report stated that there was not enough connection between the President and the Russians to meet the definition of “conspiracy.” The report also cited 11 situations in which the president could have obstructed justice, including the firing of James Comey as FBI director.
For these 11 situations, Mueller examined whether each met three criterion:
1) whether they were obstructive acts
2) whether they were connected to an official act, and
3) whether there was corrupt intent
For some, Mueller said there was “substantial” evidence that all three of those elements applied; for others, he said some of the elements applied but not all three.
attorney general Bill Barr doesn’t agree
Barr didn’t agree with Mueller’s legal analysis, however.
For example, Barr said the president’s firing of an FBI director is a “valid exercise of core presidential authority,” so the obstruction of justice statutes shouldn’t apply to it.
Barr also said he considered President Trump’s obstructive events to see if any one satisfied all three elements of the statute (that they were obstructive acts, that they were connected to an official act, and that they were done with corrupt intent).
For every single one, Barr said, “we thought long and hard about it, we looked at the facts and we didn’t feel the government could establish obstruction.”
NOTE: Barr has not released his analysis or an explanation of how he came to the conclusion that each obstructive episode did not fulfill the criterion of obstruction.
super important legal point to understand
According to Mueller, Justice Department rules prohibited him from reaching a decision on whether the president committed a crime. In other words, Mueller makes a point to say that he didn’t make a conclusion on guilt or innocence because of Department of Justice policy.
but, Mueller adds in his statement, if there was NO crime, he would have said so
In his statement, Mueller said that if his office “had had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so.”
He said there was no conspiracy; but he did NOT say there was no obstruction.
other points Mueller makes
Mueller makes the point that the Constitution requires a process other than the criminal justice system to formally accuse a sitting President of wrongdoing.
And, it would have been unfair to accuse somebody of a crime when there can be no court resolution of the charge.
President Trump tweeted about half an hour after the statement
Nothing changes from the Mueller Report. There was insufficient evidence and therefore, in our Country, a person is innocent. The case is closed! Thank you.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 29, 2019
but the tweet is not true
There was not “insufficient evidence” as President Trump claims. Mueller makes it clear that he did not charge the President because of Justice Department rules and a sense of fairness (the President could not respond to charges while in office)–not because he didn’t have the evidence to charge him. Assuming the President either read the report or watched the statement by Mueller, he absolutely knew that his tweet was false as he sent it to his millions of followers.
another tweet from the President with a similar message
The Greatest Presidential Harassment in history. After spending $40,000,000 over two dark years, with unlimited access, people, resources and cooperation, highly conflicted Robert Mueller would have brought charges, if he had ANYTHING, but there were no charges to bring!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 30, 2019
but the tweet is not true
Another important point here is that impeachment is a political process, not a criminal one. Congress can’t assign criminal charges on impeached officials, but it can remove him or her from office.
Regardless, Mueller did not bring charges because he established that doing so was not consistent with Justice Department rules. When President Trump sent this tweet, he must’ve known that his words were not true and that they were misleading.
The tweets continued, and the misinformation was spread by other important figures as well. In our Debater, we take a look at a media figure (Sean Hannity), a Congressman (Lyndsey Graham) and press secretary (Sara Sanders) to consider their distortions of truth.
Geek out here for the full text of the Mueller statement.