Robert Mueller Says Trump Is Lying About His Report

“That is not what the report said.”

Alex Brandon/AP

Facts matter: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter. Support our nonprofit reporting. Subscribe to our print magazine.

Back in March, when a summary of then-special counsel Robert Mueller’s findings was first released to the public, President Donald Trump triumphantly tweeted that he’d received a “Complete and Total EXONERATION.” But on Wednesday, Mueller said that simply wasn’t true.

“The president has repeatedly claimed that your report found that there was no obstruction and that it completely and totally exonerated him,” noted House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) at the start of a highly anticipated series of congressional hearings about Mueller’s Russia investigation. “But that is not what your report said, is it?” 

“Correct, that is not what the report said,” Mueller said.

“So, the report did not conclude that he did not commit obstruction of justice? Is that correct?” Nadler continued.

“That is correct,” Mueller responded.

“And what about total exoneration? Did you actually totally exonerate the president?” Nadler asked.

“No,” Mueller responded.

“In fact, your report expressly states that it does not exonerate the president,” Nadler went on. 

“It does,” Mueller said.

Mueller has said this before, both in his report and in a brief public statement in May. But his clear and succinct responses Wednesday represented another blow to the president’s chief talking point when it comes to the scandal—that the absence of criminal charges in the Mueller report amounted to total exoneration. As Mueller has noted, longstanding Justice Department guidelines protect the president from being indicted on federal charges.

Later in his testimony, the former special counsel also noted that Trump refused to sit down for an interview with investigators, despite multiple attempts by Mueller’s team to convince Trump to do so.

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.

payment methods

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.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly 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