When the announcement was made on Wednesday morning that special counsel Robert Mueller would be making a live statement at 11 AM ET, it seemed very unlikely that he was going to be breaking any real news. Since Mueller turned in his report on the investigation two months ago, and speculation had long been that he would be leaving “in the coming weeks,” the most likely statement seemed to be simply that the special counsel was stepping down, with a hat tip to his staff, and thanks to the grand jury. Exit stage right. The second most likely reason for a statement would seem to be that Mueller felt there was some bit of information circulating that demanded to be shot down, but even that seemed unlikely.
Given that the statement was announced by the Department of Justice, that it is being given at the Department of Justice, and that both Donald Trump and William Barr had advance knowledge of it, it seems extremely unlikely that Mueller will say anything controversial or in any way challenge the framing that Barr and Trump have given to the results of the Russia investigation. If anything, it seems probable that Mueller might make a statement intended to quiet any speculation that there was a disagreement between his position and that of Barr.
However, in the last hour several sources have indicated that Mueller’s statement will be “significant.” And the DOJ announcement states that Mueller will speak “on the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.” It seems that Mueller may have something to say that will have genuine impact on the investigation, or the interpretation of the report.
Again, with both Barr and Trump getting advance notice of Mueller’s appearance, the odds that he is going to throw a bombshell they don’t like is extraordinarily low. But then, this whole event seems both odd and out of character for the publicity-averse Mueller. So … hang on.
Wednesday, May 29, 2019 · 3:00:46 PM +00:00
Some indications now is that Mueller may be both announcing his departure and making some further statement about the report. But what that might be is completely unclear. Trump said to be watching from the White House. Barr is apparently somewhere in Alaska.
Mr. Worf, direct all power to the disappointment shields. And … engage!
Wednesday, May 29, 2019 · 3:06:17 PM +00:00
Speaking now about the two volumes of the report. “There was insufficient evidence to charge a broader conspiracy.”
“The order appointing me special counsel ordered me to investigation actions that could obstruct the investigation.” … “If we had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime we would have said so.” … “Under long standing department policy, the president cannot be charged with a crime while he is in office.” … “Special counsel was bound by that policy. Charging the president with a crime was an option that we could not consider.”
Wednesday, May 29, 2019 · 3:08:17 PM +00:00
Mueller saying it would be “unfair” to accuse Trump of a crime when it couldn’t be resolved in court — which has never made any sense.
Mueller then refuses to “speculate on any hypotheticals” which seems to suggest he’s going to say nothing substantive.
Wednesday, May 29, 2019 · 3:09:41 PM +00:00
Mueller says he “appreciates” that Barr made “almost the whole report” public.
Mueller states that he will not say anything in testimony to Congress that is not already in the report.
“I do not think it is appropriate for me to speak further on the investigation or Congress.”
Wednesday, May 29, 2019 · 3:12:55 PM +00:00
Mueller did make a special point of saying that there is a mechanism for dealing with Trump other than an indictment from his office — in other words: Congress, do your job.
But … it would have been miles better if he had just said it directly.
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