, 27 tweets, 5 min read Read on Twitter
[THREAD] I would like to offer my take on Mueller's statement today. I spent MANY hours w/ Mueller debating messages & wording before briefings to Congress & others. I joined him in giving many of the briefings. So I feel qualified to offer some opinions about his wording choices
"our investigation is complete." Trials are not over when investigations are complete, that's when they get STARTED. The fact that Mueller's investigation is complete does NOT imply that @realDonaldTrump is innocent, or that it's over & everyone should "move on" as @PressSec said
Mueller references 2 indictments alleging Russian cyber attacks against the Clinton campaign & a social media operation designed to interfere with our election & damage a presidential candidate [Clinton]. The fact innocence is presumed until verdict in no way weakens the charges
"When a subject of an investigation obstructs that investigation or lies to investigators, it strikes at the core of the government’s effort to find the truth & hold wrongdoers accountable" Mueller spent nearly 150 pages detailing evidence of 11 instances of potential obstruction
"our conclusion that there was INSUFFICIENT EVIDENCE to charge a broader conspiracy." This DOES NOT mean there was NO evidence, as Trump's team has been claiming. It means there WAS evidence of a broader conspiracy, but they didn't feel it was ENOUGH to win criminal conviction
"if we had confidence that the President clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said that." Mueller cannot state or imply the President is guilty. He COULD state confidence that a suspect did not commit a crime, and he ABSOLUTELY WOULD have if he thought Trump was innocent
Mueller knows how divisive this investigation is for the country, and he cares deeply about it. If he believed that Trump was not guilty of crimes, he ABSOLUTELY WOULD HAVE erred on the side of saying so, to set us on the path toward healing. The fact that he did not SAYS A LOT
The amount of time & words Mueller devoted to explaining in detail why he did not indict Trump says a lot as well. TEN PARAGRAPHS. This is CRITICAL. He did not refer the decision to the AG. He would've just said so. He made it clear that he expects charges will still be brought
Mueller did not "make a determination as to whether the President did commit a crime" because Trump cannot be charged while in office, even under seal. "That too is prohibited." He specifically said it would be "unconstitutional" to charge a sitting president. That includes Barr
Again, Mueller DID NOT refer the decision to AG Barr. The same argument he made would apply equally to Barr as to Mueller. He said charging the President with a crime was "not an option we could consider." Whether you agree it's unconstitutional, that belief drove his actions
It is VERY telling that of the text of the DOJ regulations prohibiting indicting a sitting president, Mueller highlights "it is important to preserve evidence while memories are fresh & documents are available." Why would you need to PRESERVE evidence? (Implying over time)
It is VERY telling that of the text of DOJ regulations prohibiting indicting a sitting president, Mueller highlights "it is important to PRESERVE EVIDENCE while memories are fresh and documents are available." Why would you need to PRESERVE evidence? Not to indict co-conspirators
If evidence was to indict co-conspirators, that could be done today. It is the PRESIDENT that can not be indicted today. In his reference, Mueller specifically said, "AMONG OTHER THINGS, that evidence" could be used to indict co-conspirators. The addition of that clause is key
Mueller is preserving the evidence specifically so Donald Trump CAN BE INDICTED when he is no longer a sitting president, and when the DOJ regulations and Constitutional issues no longer apply
That reason was enough to explain not indicting Trump. Mueller could have stopped there. But he consciously continued to cite the DOJ regulations "that the Constitution requires a process other than the criminal justice system to FORMALLY ACCUSE A SITTING PRESIDENT of wrongdoing"
The ONLY Constitutional method for accusing a sitting President of wrongdoing is impeachment. The 25th amendment deals with incapacity, not wrongdoing. It is NO COINCIDENCE that Mueller cited a single sentence that mentioned the "Constitution" together with accusing the President
That was Mueller directly referring the matter, NOT to AG Barr, who by Mueller's arguments would also be unable to indict a sitting President, but TO CONGRESS for impeachment. That is as close as Mueller would ever come to openly and publicly calling on Congress to act
Mueller's point about fairness is... fair, IF DOJ indicted the President with a crime when a trial couldn't be held to let the President present evidence. BUT that argument does not apply to CONGRESS accusing the President with a crime, because the impeachment trial COULD proceed
"I do not question the [AG]'s good faith in" the decision to make "the report largely public." Note, Mueller did NOT defend the AG's summary of the report or the AG's statements about it. He would have defended it, to help tamp down the public controversy, if he had wanted to
Mueller is a Marine to the core (corps?) and would not publicly counter his commanding officer. He WOULD defend his commanding officer if he felt it justified. The fact that he did not defend AG Barr against the criticism, but praised the fact Barr released the report, is telling
Mueller hates making public statements and testifying to Congress. I'm not surprised he doesn't want to, and that he says the report contains all of his relevant information. I am frankly a bit disappointed, too, because I want to hear from him in more detail as well
But Mueller's comments were referring to voluntary statements and testimony. While Mueller does not WANT to testify and does not PLAN to, I am confident that he would respect a subpoena and testify were any to be served
Mueller's reference to the "professional staff who helped us conduct this investigation in a FAIR and INDEPENDENT manner", and the fact that they "were of the highest integrity" was Mueller's direct and only rebuke of all of Trump's insults and slights aimed at his office
Finally, Mueller closed by emphasizing his earlier point "that there WERE MULTIPLE, SYSTEMATIC EFFORTS TO INTERFERE IN OUR ELECTION" and "that allegation deserves the attention of EVERY American." THAT was aimed squarely at Mueller's own party, the GOP. A call for action
P.S. It’s making me twitch that I goofed & had a duplicate tweet in there, with both the before & after of edits I planned to make to it. I don’t want a “tweet deleted” in the middle of the thread, so I’ll leave the original. We’ll just call it a bonus tweet instead of a goof! 😜
P.P.S. I'd like to correct my wording in that top tweet. One does not "debate" Mueller. He was in charge. We all *discussed* the audience of each briefing, what their primary interests were, & options for tuning our message for that audience. But ultimately it was Mueller's call
I realized the word "debate" could imply that I saw myself as his equal. Definitely not the case, he was the boss. He sought our opinions. Whether he agreed with them or not he'd challenge them to see if they were based on solid reasoning. He was hard, but a great man to work for
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