Trump declares himself innocent after Mueller says he's not


Trump's interpretation of special counsel Robert Mueller's statement is the opposite of what Mueller said.

On Wednesday morning, special counsel Robert Mueller clearly stated that if he had uncovered evidence that Trump was innocent of obstruction of justice, he would have said so in his report.

But that didn't stop Trump from misleadingly declaring his own innocence via Twitter.

"Nothing changes from the Mueller Report. There was insufficient evidence and therefore, in our Country, a person is innocent. The case is closed! Thank you," Trump said about half an hour after Mueller finished delivering remarks on the Russia investigation.

Trump's statement misrepresents what Mueller said. During his only public statement about his two-year investigation into Trump, Mueller said: "And as set forth in the report after that investigation, if we had had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so. We did not, however, make a determination as to whether the president did commit a crime."

Further, Mueller clearly stated that he was unable, due to Department of Justice policy, to charge Trump with any crime — even if Mueller found overwhelming evidence of a crime (which he did).

"Under longstanding department policy, a president cannot be charged with a federal crime while he is in office," Mueller said. "That is unconstitutional. Even if the charge is kept under seal and hidden from view, that too is prohibited. Charging the president with a crime was, therefore, not an option we could consider."

Mueller went on to reference impeachment, a process that only Congress has the power to initiate, by noting that the "Constitution requires a process other than the criminal justice system to formally accuse a sitting president of wrongdoing."

Yet even while misrepresenting what Mueller said, Trump still seemed to be hedging his language. Rather than proclaiming "TOTAL EXONERATION" in all-caps, as he often has in the past, Trump downshifted to claim that there was merely "insufficient evidence" of wrongdoing.

"Insufficient evidence" is a far cry from "TOTAL EXONERATION." And as Mueller made clear once again, Trump has not been exonerated.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.