Fact Check: Impeachment-Driven Warren Falsely Claims Mueller Report Determined Trump Obstructed Justice

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., speaks in a Democratic presidential primary debate hosted by CNN/New York Times at Otterbein University, Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2019, in Westerville, Ohio. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
AP Photo/John Minchillo

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) – in making the case for the impeachment inquiry against President Trump – falsely claimed on Tuesday that the Mueller report showed that the president obstructed justice, despite that the former special counsel made no such determination.

The CNN/New York Times debate opened with a question on impeachment, and Warren said her call for an impeachment inquiry began with the results from the Mueller report, which showed no evidence of collusion or conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia.

She said she read the entire Mueller report and added, “When I got to the end, I realized that Mueller had shown, too, a fare-thee-well, that this president had obstructed justice and had done it repeatedly.”

“At that moment, I called for an impeachment inquiry. Now that didn’t happen, and look what happened as a result,” Warren continued, accusing Trump of breaking the law in the summer and the fall:

Donald Trump broke the law again in the summer. Broke it again this fall. You know we took a Constitutional oath, and that is that no one is above the law, and that includes the President of the United States. Impeachment is the way we establish that this man will not be permitted to break the law over and over without consequences.

However, Mueller made no such determination on obstruction of justice. He made that point clear during his testimony before lawmakers in July.

As Breitbart News reported:

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 corrected the record after the fact, reiterating that he did not make a determination on obstruction of justice:

Mueller stated:

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.

“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 added.

Attorney General William Barr determined that Trump did not obstruct justice, explaining that “the evidence developed by the Special Counsel is not sufficient to establish that the president committed an obstruction of justice offense.”


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