Trump Declares “Case Is Closed” on Russia Investigation. Mueller Just Hinted at the Exact Opposite.

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President Donald Trump continued to claim innocence after Robert Mueller staged a surprise press conference Wednesday morning, declaring that nothing had changed in the wake of Mueller’s unprecedented public appearance. “Case is closed!” the president said on Twitter.

In doing so, Trump misleadingly conflated Mueller’s reference to insufficient evidence on collusion with his findings on obstruction. In his statement, Mueller specifically referred to the Justice Department’s longstanding policy that protects sitting presidents from being indicted on federal charges, and not any lack of evidence, as the governing reason for why the investigation did not lead to charges against Trump.

Mueller also repeated a central line from the special counsel’s report that if investigators had had “confidence the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so.” The statement, Mueller’s first public remarks in more than two years, rebutted Trump’s persistent claims that the Mueller report was a clear acquittal of his actions and of allegations that he had attempted to obstruct the Russia investigation.

Trump’s response on Wednesday seemed to represent something of a shift, with “insufficient evidence” replacing the president’s previous declarations of “total exoneration.” His critics, including Rep. Justin Amash, offered a different view:

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THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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