Mueller leaving Justice Dept. now that Russia probe is done

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Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III said Wednesday his office is formally closing and he is returning to private life.

The comments mark Mueller’s first public remarks on the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election since the release last month of his final, 448-page report. Standing alone on stage in a room on the Justice Department’s seventh floor normally used for press conferences, Mueller said he was “speaking out today because our investigation is complete.”

“We are formally closing the special counsel’s office and as well I am resigning from the Department of Justice to return to private life,” Mueller said.

There will be no question-and-answer session following Mueller’s statement, the Department of Justice said. The statement is expected to last about eight minutes, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Mueller’s report said his team did not find President Trump or his associates conspired with Russia to influence the 2016, but notably decided not to reach a conclusion on whether Trump had obstructed justice.

Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III on May 29 said it would be “unfair” to accuse President Trump of a crime since he could not be charged with a crime. (The Washington Post)

Mueller’s team wrote that Justice Department legal guidance prohibiting the indictment of a sitting president prevented prosecutors from accusing the commander in chief of a crime even in a private report. The non-decision has roiled Washington — with Trump declaring complete vindication even as hundreds of former federal prosecutors say that Mueller laid out sufficient evidence in his report to make an obstruction case.

The White House was notified Tuesday night that Mueller planned to make a statement on Wednesday, according to a senior White House official.

Mueller’s only public statement to date is the one he put out when he was appointed special counsel two years ago.

“I accept this responsibility and will discharge it to the best of my ability,” he said at the time.

A person familiar with the matter said Mueller will deliver a “substantial” statement, but declined to provide more details.

The person said the statement is not a response to reporting about Michael Wolff’s soon-to-be-released book on the Trump administration, “Siege.” According to The Guardian, which obtained an early copy of the book, Wolff claimed that the special counsel’s office had drafted an obstruction of justice indictment against President Trump. A Mueller spokesman has denied the claim.


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