US President Donald Trump slammed Special Counsel Robert Mueller as “highly conflicted”, a day after Mueller made his first-ever public statement saying that charging Trump with a crime was “not an option” due to Justice Department guidelines.
“After spending $40,000,000 over two dark years, with unlimited access, people, resources and cooperation, highly conflicted Robert Mueller would have brought charges, if he had ANYTHING, but there were no charges to bring!” Xinhua quoted Trump as saying on Thursday.
“Russia, Russia, Russia! That’s all you heard at the beginning of this Witch Hunt Hoax…And now Russia has disappeared because I had nothing to do with Russia helping me to get elected. It was a crime that didn’t exist,” the US President tweeted, “Mueller didn’t find Obstruction either. Presidential Harassment!”
In the on-camera statement on Wednesday, Mueller explained that charging the president with a crime was “not an option” due to longstanding Justice Department policy which states that a sitting president cannot be charged with a crime.
“If we had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said that,” Mueller said. “The Constitution requires a process other than the criminal justice system to formally accuse the president of wrongdoing.”
Many Democrats took the special counsel’s remarks as a nod to Congress to begin impeachment proceedings though Mueller stopped short of saying it definitively.
When departing the White House later Thursday morning, Trump said he couldn’t imagine the courts allowing Democrats to launch an impeachment move.
“I don’t see how they can because they’re possibly allowed, although I can’t imagine the courts allowing it. I’ve never gone into it,” Trump told reporters. “I never thought that would even be possible to be using that word. To me, it’s a dirty word — the word impeach. It’s a dirty, filthy, disgusting word.”
Meanwhile, he repeated that the special counsel was “totally conflicted,” claiming Mueller wanted to be tapped to lead the FBI again during the Trump administration. Mueller served as FBI director under the Bush and Obama administrations.
“He wanted to be FBI director,” Trump said. “Mueller should have never been chosen — he wanted the FBI job and didn’t get it and then was picked as special counsel.” The president also blasted the prosecutors working for Mueller during the 22-month Russia investigation as “18 Trump haters and some of the worst humans.”
Though calls for impeachment were heightened from time to time, analysts said an impeachment could well galvanize Trump’s base and tamp up support for him like never before, and could thus cause the impeachment to backfire.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, facing pressure from her party, also seems cool to the idea.
“We want to do what’s right and what gets results,” Pelosi said Wednesday. “We’re legislating, we’re investigating and we’re litigating.”
“I am speaking out today because our investigation is complete,” Mueller said on Wednesday. “The attorney general has made the report on our investigation largely public. We are formally closing the special counsel’s office. And as well, I’m resigning from the Department of Justice to return to private life.”
Mueller concluded his investigation in March by submitting a report to Attorney General William Barr and a redacted version was made public last month.
The report stated that there was no evidence that Trump’s campaign conspired with the Russian government during the 2016 U.S. elections but did not conclude if the president had obstructed justice.
Barr and his deputy Rod Rosenstein, who stepped down earlier this month, have concluded that Mueller did not have “sufficient” evidence to support a charge in the obstruction case, a move that has drawn scrutiny from the Democrats.