Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-TX) eviscerated former Special Counsel Robert Mueller for flouting Justice Department policies as well as the principle of presumption of innocence by declaring he could “not exonerate” Donald Trump of obstruction of justice.
Ratcliffe asked Mueller, who testified Wednesday on Capitol Hill to the House Justice Committee, where in Justice Department policies and principles is there a legal standard where a person not found guilty of a crime is considered “not exonerated.”
“Your report and today you said that all times the Special Counsel team operated under was guided by and followed Justice Department policies and principles, so which DOJ policy or principle sets forth a legal standard an investigated person is not exonerated if their innocence from criminal conduct is not conclusively determined?
“Where does that language come from, director, where is the DOJ policy that says that? Can you give me an example other than Donald Trump where the Justice Department determined that an investigated person was not exonerated because their innocence was not conclusively determined,” Ratcliffe asked.
Mueller responded, “I cannot. But this is a unique situation.”
Ratcliffe said Mueller essentially made up a standard that does not exist:
You can’t find it because — I’ll you why — it doesn’t exist. The special counsel’s job — nowhere does it say that you are to conclusively determine Donald Trump’s innocence or that the Special Counsel report should determine whether or not to exonerate him, it’s not in any of the documents, it’s not in your appointment order, it’s not in the Special Counsel regulations, it’s not in the OLC opinions, it’s not in the Justice manual, and it’s not in the Principles of Federal Prosecution. Nowhere do those words appear together because respectfully it was not the Special Counsel’s job to conclusively determine Donald Trump’s innocence or to exonerate him because the bedrock principle of our justice system is a presumption of innocence.
Ratcliffe than blasted Mueller for violating Trump’s right to the presumption of innocence.
“It exists for everyone everyone is entitled to it, including sitting presidents, and becauase there is a presumption of innocence, prosecutors never ever need to conclusively determine it,” he said.
“Now director, the Special Counsel applied this inverted burden of proof that I can’t find and you said doesn’t exist anywhere in the Department policies and you used it to write a report,” he added.
Ratcliffe also slammed him for not following the special counsel’s regulations.
“It cllearly says write a confidential report about decisions reached. Nowhere in here does it say write a report about decisions that weren’t reached…potential crimes that weren’t charged,” he said.
“Americans need to know this…this report, volume two of this report was not authorized under the law to be written. It was written to a legal standard that does not exist at the Justice Department.
“I agree with the chairman this morning when he said Donald Trump is not above the law. but he damn sure shouldn’t be below the law which is where volume two of this report puts him.”