Special Counsel Robert Mueller announced Wednesday the office of the special counsel was closing and he was returning to private life, in his first public comments since his investigation began in May 2017.
He reiterated the conclusions outlined in his final report, which Attorney General William Barr released last month.
On the subject of whether the Trump campaign conspired with Russia during the 2016 election, Mueller said, “There was insufficient evidence to charge a broader conspiracy.”
On the subject of whether President Trump ever criminally obstructed his investigation, Mueller was more vague — saying his team was not confident the president did not commit a crime. However, he did not say his team was confident the president did commit a crime either.
“If we had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime we would have said so,” he said. “We did not, however, make a determination as to whether the president did commit a crime.”
Mueller said he appreciated Barr making his final report “largely public” and suggested that it would be a waste of time if he testified to Congress.
He said he would not go beyond the report in testimony. “The report is my testimony,” he said.
A senior White House official told press traveling with President Trump that the White House was notified about the statement the night before, so it was not caught off-guard.