Law & the Courts

Mueller Resigns, Special Counsel’s Office Closes

Special Counsel Robert Mueller makes a statement on his investigation at the Justice Department in Washington, D.C., May 29, 2019. (Jim Bourg/Reuters)

Special Counsel Robert Mueller submitted his official resignation on Wednesday, announcing at a press conference that he is leaving the Justice Department, closing the special counsel’s office, and returning to private life.

In his first public statement on his investigation, he stressed that he does not intend to expand on the contents of his final report after today.

“It’s important the office’s written work speaks for itself,” Mueller said during the press conference.

Charging President Trump with a crime was “not an option,” Mueller reiterated, since a sitting president cannot be indicted.

“Under longstanding department policy, a president cannot be charged with a federal crime while he is in office. That is unconstitutional. Even if the charge is kept under seal and hidden from public view, that too is prohibited,” Mueller said, before adding that, “If we had had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so.”

Mueller’s final report was delivered to Attorney General William Barr in March, and a redacted version of it was released to lawmakers and the public last month.

The special counsel found that the Trump campaign did not engage in collusion with Russia, but declined to reach a conclusion on whether Trump himself obstructed justice during the investigation.

Still, several congressional committees continue to conduct their own separate investigations of the matter. Democrats and Republicans have sparred over whether instances of Trump ordering his aides to have the special counsel fired, for example, constitute obstruction.

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