Robert Mueller resigns in first public statement since end of Russia probe

WASHINGTON — Special counsel Robert Mueller said Wednesday he will resign from his position and his office will close following the conclusion of his 22-month investigation into Russian election meddling and its possible ties to President Donald Trump and his campaign officials.

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He spoke publicly Wednesday for the first time since he submitted his 448-page report to the Justice Department in April.

In the report, Mueller said he found no evidence the Trump campaign coordinated with Russian officials to win the 2016 presidential election but he declined to make a decision on whether there was enough evidence to charge Trump with obstruction of justice. Mueller said Wednesday that Justice Department policy barred his team from considering charges against a sitting president.

>> From Cox Media Group's Jamie Dupree: Mueller resigns as Special Counsel refuses to exonerate Trump on obstruction

Update 2:30 p.m. EDT May 29: House Judiciary Chairman Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., said lawmakers continue to mull the possibility of launching impeachment procedures against Trump.

"All options are on the table and nothing should be ruled out," Nadler said. "The president is lying about the special counsel's findings. lying in saying the special counsel found no obstruction no collusion. ... No one, not even the president, is above the law."

Update 12:25 p.m. EDT May 29: White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Mueller's investigation found "no collusion, no conspiracy" and that the Justice Department "confirmed there was no obstruction" in a statement released Wednesday.

"The Special Counsel has completed the investigation, closed his office, and has closed the case," she said. "After two years, the Special Counsel is moving on with his life, and everyone else should do the same."

Democrats have already signaled that Mueller's statement will do little to quell the ongoing congressional investigations into Trump.

"(Mueller) confirmed three central points: he did not exonerate the President of the United States of obstruction of justice, obstruction of justice is a serious crime that strikes at the core of our justice system and the Constitution points to Congress to take action to hold the President accountable," House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., said in a statement.

"Although Department of Justice policy prevented the Special Counsel from bringing criminal charges against the President, the Special Counsel has clearly demonstrated that President Trump is lying about the Special Counsel's findings, lying about the testimony of key witnesses in the Special Counsel's report and is lying in saying that the Special Counsel found no obstruction and no collusion."

He vowed Congress would respond "to the crimes, lies and other wrongdoing of President Trump.

"No one, not even the President of the United States, is above the law," he said.

Earlier this month, the House Judiciary Committee voted to hold U.S. Attorney General William Barr in contempt of Congress after he failed to submit an unredacted copy of Mueller's report to the panel, despite a subpoena.

Update 11:45 a.m. EDT May 29: Trump took to Twitter on Wednesday to respond to Mueller's statement, in which the special counsel emphasized that questions remain about whether the president tried to obstruct justice in his efforts to end Mueller's probe.

"Nothing chances from the Mueller Report," Trump wrote in a tweet. "There was insufficient evidence and therefore, in our Country, a person is innocent. The case is closed! Thank you."

In his first public comments since the conclusion earlier this year of his investigation into Russian election meddling, Mueller said his team was unable to consider whether to bring charges against Trump because of longstanding Justice Department policy barring a sitting president from facing federal charges.

"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."

>> Read the latest from our Washington Insider, Jamie Dupree

Update 11:35 a.m. EDT May 29: Mueller said Justice Department policy that bars a sitting president from facing federal charges meant his team couldn't consider charging Trump as part of his investigation.

"That is unconstitutional. Even if the charge is kept under seal and hidden from public view, that too is prohibited," he said. "Charging the president with a crime was therefore not an option we could consider."

Mueller emphasized that questions remained about whether Trump obstructed justice in his efforts to end the special counsel's probe.

"If we had had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime we would have said so," he said. "We did not, however, make a determination as to whether the president did commit a crime."

In his 448-page report, partially released to the public in April, Mueller said he found no evidence the Trump campaign coordinated with Russian officials to win the 2016 presidential election. He declined to make a decision on whether there was enough evidence to charge Trump with obstruction of justice.

U.S. Attorney General William Barr told lawmakers last month that he was confused by Mueller's decision. He said in a letter to Congress that the investigation identified "no actions that, in our judgment, constitute obstructive conduct."

Trump has denied all wrongdoing and consistently framed Mueller's investigation as an expensive and politically motivated "witch hunt" aimed at hurting his presidency.

Update 11:05 a.m. EDT May 29: Mueller said he will resign from his position as special counsel and that the department will close now that he's completed his investigation into Russian election meddling.

Mueller submitted his report to the Justice Department in March. He said he found no evidence the Trump campaign coordinated with Russian officials to win the 2016 presidential election.

Mueller declined to make a decision on whether there was enough evidence to charge Trump with obstruction of justice in connection to the investigation. A Justice Department legal opinion says sitting presidents cannot be indicted, and Mueller made clear in his report that that opinion helped shape the investigation's outcome and decisions.

Original report: Officials said Mueller will not take questions.

>> More on Robert Mueller's investigation

A senior White House official told reporters they were notified Mueller planned to speak on Tuesday night.

The special counsel completed his probe of Russian election interference earlier this year.  In April, the Justice Department released a redacted version of his 448-page report, in which he said he found no evidence the Trump campaign coordinated with Russian officials to win the 2016 presidential election.

Mueller declined to make a decision on whether there was enough evidence to charge Trump with obstruction of justice in connection to the investigation. A Justice Department legal opinion says sitting presidents cannot be indicted, and Mueller made clear in his report that that opinion helped shape the investigation's outcome and decisions.

U.S. Attorney General William Barr told lawmakers last month that he was confused by Mueller's decision. He said in a letter to Congress that the investigation "did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities."

Barr has resisted calls from Democrats to release the full Mueller report. At least two congressional committees have issued subpoenas for the full document, without success. Earlier this month, the House Judiciary Committee voted to hold Barr in contempt of Congress for his failure to comply with the panel's subpoena.

The House Intelligence Committee last week dropped a similar threat to hold the attorney general in contempt after Justice Department officials agreed to turn over documents related to the probe to the committee.
Trump has denied all wrongdoing and consistently framed Mueller's investigation as an expensive and politically motivated "witch hunt" aimed at hurting his presidency.