Here’s What We Learned From Robert Mueller’s First IRL Statement

Everyone shut up! Robert Mueller has something to say. Today, the man behind the curtain came forward in a very rare public appearence to get a few things off his chest. When a man of power, well-tailored suits, and possibly information to kick Trump out of office speaks, we listen with bated breath.

So what did we learn?

He Is Resigning And Closing The Special Counsel’s Office

Unfortunately, the “he” in this case is Robert Mueller and not Donald Trump. With the conclusion of the Special Counsel report, Mueller is closing the office and retiring to private life. I doubt there’s going to be a big bash with goodbye tequila shots for his departure. More likely there will be a solemn greeting card from CVS passed around the office that everyone has to sign.

He Did Not Clear Trump

While Trump’s fingers are about to fall off from tweeting NO COLLUSION NO OBSTRUCTION 200 times a day, Mueller restated that this was not the point made by his report. “If we could say with confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so,” he said.

Take your time untangling the double negatives, but basically, he is saying Trump is up to some shady stuff. He emphasized that his office chose to follow a Justice Department policy that states a sitting president cannot be indicted “even if the charge is kept under seal and hidden from public view,” Mueller said, adding: “Charging the president with a crime was, therefore, not an option we could consider.”

As such, the report states that Mueller’s team “determined not to apply an approach that that could potentially result in a judgment that the president committed crimes.” Def thought that’s what they’ve been doing for two years, but okay.

So because Trump could not be indicted, Mueller determined it would be inappropriate to pursue any conclusion that would result in charges. Why? Because any trial that could prove guilt or exonerate Trump would have to wait until after his presidency or it would, obviously, impact his ability to govern. (Is that what we’re calling it?) However, the hottest tea from today’s statement — or at least, tea that’s become lukewarm since the report and Mueller popped in the microwave for a minute — relates to whether the office determined that he did not commit a crime. Mueller encouraged us to highlight and underline the parts in his report that say “we can’t say he didn’t commit a crime” and to rest assured that if they had determined “no obstruction,” they would have said so.

Today’s statement also affirms that Attorney General Bill Barr dramatically understated how limited Mueller felt by the Justice Department’s policy. Barr had previously suggested that Mueller found no evidence of a crime and the policy barring him from bringing charges was almost irrelevant. Based on Mueller’s report and statements today, that is not the case. The policy, it seems, had a definitive impact on the investigation.

 

He’s Not Going To Testify

What we read is what we’re going to get. Despite many of us wanting an extensive Sparknotes version of the report, Mueller is being an annoying English teacher and is like “the text speaks for itself.” He does not want to testify any further and kept referring to his report as the final word. He’s pretty clear about that. It’s like his old man version of constantly reminding everyone he studied abroad. We get it.

 

Is It A Call For Impeachment?

Some folks, especially the Democrats (duh) believe this is Mueller advocating for an impeachment. When Mueller reiterated that his office was unable to make a determination on obstruction of justice or suggest a penalty for any wrongdoing they did find, he noted that “the Constitution requires a process other than the criminal justice system to formally accuse a sitting president of wrongdoing,” he said. Incidentally, that process is impeachment.

If that’s what the tea leaves are saying, so be it. Happy to clear my important schedule of watching RHONY re-runs and watch an impeachment hearing. Nancy Pelosi continues to stall on impeachment, but many lawmakers (especially ones running for president, which is most of them) took Mueller’s words as a call to arms.

 

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