Former Special Counsel Robert Mueller took back his one comment that Democrats were latching on to from his remarks to the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday suggesting he would have indicted President Trump if it were not for a legal opinion that sitting presidents cannot be indicted.
“I want to add one correction to my testimony this morning. I wanted to go back to one thing that was said this morning by Mr. [Ted Lieu (D-CA] — who said, and I quote, ‘You didn’t charge the president because of the [Office of Legal Counsel (OLC)] opinion.’ That is not the correct way to say it,” Mueller said.
“As we say in the report and as I said in the opening, we did not reach a determination as to whether the president committed a crime,” he said.
#Mueller correcting his earlier remark to Rep. Ted Lieu that suggested he would have indicted Trump if it weren’t for the OLC opinion:
“That is not the correct way to say it.” pic.twitter.com/tfgcOUGiZf
— Kristina Wong 🇺🇸 (@kristina_wong) July 24, 2019
His correction came during his testimony to the House Intelligence Committee, in reference to comments he made at an earlier hearing in front of the Judiciary Committee to Lieu.
Lieu asked him, “I’d like to ask you, the reason again, that you did not indict Donald Trump is because of OLC opinion stating that you cannot indict a sitting president, correct?”
Mueller responded, “That is correct.”
After Mueller’s response, Democrats latched on to his comment as evidence that Trump was guilty of obstruction of justice and that Mueller would have charged him if it were not a Justice Department legal office opinion.
Mueller and his team in fact declined to make any assessment on whether Trump committed obstruction of justice, so as to avoid making any legal judgment that could have found that Trump committed a crime and should be indicted.
Follow Kristina Wong at @kristina_wong.