Former special counsel Robert Mueller, who oversaw the Russia investigation and its subsequent report looking into possible connections between Moscow and the campaign of now-President Donald Trump in 2016, is set to speak to two committees in Congress this week.
Ahead of the July 24 meetings, the president has continued his criticism of Mueller, calling him “conflicted” and falsely stating that his investigation found no wrongdoing on his part within the same breath — or tweet, as it were.
“Highly conflicted Robert Mueller should not be given another bite at the apple,” Trump wrote, adding that the investigation was a “witch hunt,” and that testifying before Congress will be “bad for him and the phony Democrats.”
Trump also repeated a favorite line of his. “Result of the Mueller Report, NO COLLUSION, NO OBSTRUCTION!” he wrote.
Highly conflicted Robert Mueller should not be given another bite at the apple. In the end it will be bad for him and the phony Democrats in Congress who have done nothing but waste time on this ridiculous Witch Hunt. Result of the Mueller Report, NO COLLUSION, NO OBSTRUCTION!…
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 22, 2019
That’s not exactly what Mueller concluded in his report, however.
The former special counsel said there were at least 10 instances of possible acts of obstruction of justice that Trump may have committed, reported CBS News back in April, shortly after the redacted version of his report was made public.
Though Mueller refused to charge Trump with a crime, it was not because a crime wasn’t discovered. Rather, Mueller’s decision came, according to NBC News, because his hands were tied on the matter, due to Department of Justice rules on presenting charges to a sitting president, as well as the Constitution’s framework.
“The Constitution requires a process other than the criminal justice system to formally accuse a sitting president of wrongdoing,” Mueller said in May when he stepped down from his official role. Many have suggested Mueller was alluding to the process of impeachment being the only option to present Trump with these charges.
Although Trump’s own Attorney General William Barr has suggested that obstruction of justice, on its own, doesn’t warrant a serious charge unless another crime occurred, most legal experts disagree with that assessment. Indeed, some have opined that obstruction of the investigation may itself be a form of collusion or coordination with Russia, as the obstruction could have been committed in order to hide (perhaps successfully) evidence of an inappropriate relationship between Trump (or his campaign) and the Kremlin.
Democratic lawmakers in Congress will likely attempt to get Mueller to answer these types of questions, and more, when he appears before them later this week. However, the former special counsel may be more tight-lipped when speaking before the committees. He quipped at the same press conference cited above that his report was going to be as good as his testimony, and that he wouldn’t say anything more about his findings.