House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler asked Robert Mueller today to explain what he meant when Mueller said in his report:
“If we had confidence that the president did not commit a crime, we would have said so. Charging the President with a crime, therefore, was not an option we could consider.”
Mueller confirmed that the report did not “totally exonerate” Donald Trump. And then Mueller put it another way:
The president was not exculpated for the acts that he allegedly committed.
What this means is that when Trump (and others) claim that Mueller’s report found no wrongdoing and “totally exonerated” him, he is lying.
Here is a further exchange between Representative Ted Lieu (D-CA) and Mueller:
Lieu: So to recap what we’ve heard, we have heard today that the President ordered former White House counsel Don McGahn to fire you. The President ordered Don McGahn to then cover that up and create a false paper trail. And now we’ve heard the President ordered Cory Lewandowski to tell Jeff Sessions to limit your investigation so that he — you stop investigating the President. I believe a reasonable person looking at these facts could conclude that all three elements of the crime of obstruction of justice have been met, and I’d like to ask you the reason, again, that you did not indict Donald Trump is because of (Office of Legal Counsel) opinion stating that you cannot indict a sitting president, correct?
Mueller: That is correct.
Furthermore, Representative Ken Buck (R-CO) had the following exchange with Mueller:
BUCK: “Could you charge the president with a crime after he left office?”
BUCK: “You could charge the President of the United States with obstruction of justice after he left office?”
I’m sure Trump and the Republicans will continue to try to spin all this anyway.