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

Ting Shen/ZUMA

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis and more, subscribe to Mother Jones' newsletters.

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:

THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.