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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You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

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