President Trump, in an exclusive interview with Fox News’ Laura Ingraham, said former Special Counsel Robert Mueller made “such a fool” out of himself last week when he delivered his first and only public statement about the Russia investigation.
Speaking to Fox News amid his visit to Normandy, France to commemorate the 75th anniversary of D-Day, Trump alluded to some of the confusion generated by Mueller’s remarks.
“Let me tell you, he made such a fool out of himself … because what people don’t report is the letter he had to do to straighten out his testimony because his testimony was wrong,” Trump told Ingraham.
Trump was referring to Mueller’s initial suggestion that he was not charged with an obstruction of justice offense because of longstanding Justice Department policy.
“Charging the president with a crime was not an option we could consider,” Mueller said last week, citing an Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) opinion that states a sitting president cannot be indicted.
“If we had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said that. … We concluded that we would not reach a determination one way or the other about whether the president committed a crime,” Mueller said.
Mueller’s statements sparked controversy in the media and among congressional Democrats, who claimed they contradicted Attorney General Bill Barr’s original statements on Mueller’s obstruction of justice inquiry.
Barr, in testimony before the Senate, had said Mueller repeatedly told his team “that he emphatically was not saying that but for the OLC opinion, he would have found obstruction.” Barr, upon receipt of the Russia report in late March, also had released a four-page summary saying Mueller did not reach a conclusion on whether the president committed an obstruction of justice offense — though Barr determined the evidence did not support such a charge.
The confusion resulted in a rare joint statement the night of Mueller’s public appearance. In an attempt to clarify and put both offices on the same page, Justice Department spokeswoman Kerri Kupec and spokesman for the special counsel Peter Carr put out a statement saying:
“The Attorney General has previously stated that the Special Counsel repeatedly affirmed that he was not saying that, but for the [Office of Legal Counsel] opinion, he would have found the President obstructed justice …
“The Special Counsel’s report and his statement today made clear that the office concluded it would not reach a determination—one way or the other—about whether the President committed a crime,” they continued. “There is no conflict between these statements.”
Adapted From Fox News