In what may be marked as the greatest anti-climactic speech ever made in Washington D.C., special counsel Robert Mueller, on Wednesday, stepped down after concluding not only one of the highest-profile investigations in recent history, but one of the most distinctive codas in the career of any top Washington official.
In his soft-shoe farewell talk, Mueller used backward, negative explanations.
“If we had had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so,” Mueller said. “We did not, however, make a determination as to whether the president did commit a crime. If we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the president clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state. Based on the facts and the applicable legal standards, however, we are unable to reach that judgment.”
Mueller is one of the most decorated law enforcement officers of his generation and was the longest serving FBI leader since J. Edgar Hoover.
After Mueller’s 448-page report was released with redactions in April, House Democrats sought the entire text and underlying evidence, which Attorney General William Barr has refused to provide, prompting the House Judiciary Committee to recommend that he be held in contempt of Congress.
Portions of the report were redacted to protect secret grand jury information, privacy and open investigations.
On Wednesday, Mueller said he would not provide any information to lawmakers beyond what was in the special counsel’s report.
Mueller said of the issue of Russian interference, “there were multiple, systematic efforts to interfere in our election, and that allegation deserves the attention of every American.”
President Donald J. Trump has lashed out at Democrats for continuing to investigate him and last week, he said he would hold hostage bipartisan legislative priorities until they “get these phony investigations over with.”
He also announced last week, that he was delegating extraordinary powers to Attorney General Barr to investigate the origins of the Russia inquiry and declassify documents from American intelligence agencies. The move prompted concerns among Democrats and current and former national security officials about the politicization of intelligence, such as the administration declassifying only material that support Trump’s view that the investigators illegally opened the inquiry.
“We’re exposing everything,” Trump said last week.
Some Democrats pointed to Mueller’s remarks as a fresh call for them to investigate the president. Representative Jerold Nadler, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said Congress would continue to scrutinize the president’s “crimes, lies and other wrongdoings.”
He added, “No one, not even the president of the United States, is above the law.”
Oddly enough, we rarely hear anyone discuss a plan on how to best block Russia from interfering in our democratic election process between now and the November 2020 election.
Shouldn’t that be a priority?