Trump did commit crime, but won’t be charged due to DOJ policy, says Mueller

US special counsel Robert Mueller says his team is not “confident” about US President Donald Trump’s innocence, noting that not filing federal charges against a sitting president has been the Justice Department’s long standing  policy.

“If we had had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so,” Mueller said in his first public appearance Wednesday after the conclusion of the so-called Russia probe. “Charging the president with a crime was therefore not an option we could consider.”

Trump immediately reacted to Mueller’s remarks, announcing that the case against him has been closed.

“Nothing changes from the Mueller Report. There was insufficient evidence and therefore, in our Country, a person is innocent. The case is closed! Thank you,” tweeted the president.

Democrats in control of the US House of Representatives have been seeking a Mueller hearing, which he suggested would not be useful as he has made all the points in his report.

“That is the office’s final conclusion and we will not comment on any other … conclusions or hypotheticals,” he said. “Beyond what I’ve said here today and what is contained in our written work, I do not believe it is appropriate for me to speak further about the investigation or to comment on the actions of the Justice Department or Congress.”

‘No one above the law’

Announcing his resignation from the Justice Department, Mueller concluded his remarks by alleging “that there were multiple systematic efforts to interfere in our election and that allegation deserves the attention of every American”.

“We are formally closing the special counsel’s office and as well I’m resigning from the Department of Justice to return to private life,” he said.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said ahead of Mueller’s first public appearance that Trump is “aware” of his speech and would monitor it. She refused to comment though whether Trump is aware of what Mueller has to say.

Mueller’s comments came as Democrats were discussing impeachment of the president along with at least one Republican lawmaker, Michigan congressman Justin Amash (pictured below).

“The ball is in our court, Congress,” he tweeted after Mueller’s speech.

House Judiciary Committee chair Jerry Nadler also released a  statement, calling on Congress to respond to Trump’s “crimes, lies and other wrongdoing.”

“Although Department of Justice policy prevented the Special Counsel from bringing criminal charges against the President, the Special Counsel has clearly demonstrated that President Trump is lying about the Special Counsel’s findings, lying about the testimony of key witnesses in the Special Counsel’s report, and is lying in saying that the Special Counsel found no obstruction and no collusion. Given that Special Counsel Mueller was unable to pursue criminal charges against the President, it falls to Congress to respond to the crimes, lies and other wrongdoing of President Trump – and we will do so. No one, not even the President of the United States, is above the law,” Nadler said.