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Mueller says if his team had 'confidence' President Trump had not committed a crime, they would have said so

He defended his investigation and said that charging Trump with a crime while in office was never an option

Alex Wong/Getty Images

During a brief news conference Wednesday, special counsel Robert Mueller said that if his team had "confidence" that President Donald Trump had not committed any crimes, his team "would have said so." He also announced that since his investigation is now over, he will be resigning.

Here's what we know

During a news conference on Wednesday, Mueller announced that he would be "resigning from the Department of Justice to return to private life."

He said that charging President Trump with a crime was never an option, because "under longstanding department policy, a president cannot be charged with a federal crime while he's in office." He added "charging the president with a crime was not an option we could therefore consider."

Mueller emphasized that while his report had not accused the president of any crimes, it had also not cleared him, saying "if we had confidence that the president did not commit a crime we would have said so."

Mueller said that no one had told him to speak further about this investigation. He said that any testimony he gave to Congress would not include any information that he had not already provided in his report.

"I would not provide information besides that which is already public in any testimony before Congress," he said.

He elaborated a bit further on this point, saying that it "would be unfair to potentially accuse someone of a crime, when there could be no court resolution of the charge." Based on this, he said, his office had concluded that the final report would not say whether or not the president had committed a crime.

He said he did not think it was "appropriate" for him to speak any more about this investigation. He did not take any questions.

Trump responded

In a tweet following Mueller's announcement, Trump said "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."

However, Mueller never once mentioned a lack of evidence, just the inability to legally charge a sitting president with a crime.

One last thing…
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