Trump was not exonerated, Mueller tells Congress

Trump was not exonerated, Mueller tells Congress

Former special counsel Robert Mueller has testified to the United States Congress that he did not exonerate US President Donald Trump of obstruction of justice.

Mr Mueller’s investigation into possible Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election charged 35 people and three companies on matters related to the election, but did not charge any members of the Trump family.

However, Mr Mueller has rejected the President’s assertion that the investigation “totally exonerated” him.

Instead, Mr Mueller testified that he and his team were unable to charge the President with a crime, but could not exonerate him either.

“Based on Justice Department policy and principles of fairness, we decided we would not make a determination as to whether the President committed a crime,” he testified.

“That was our decision then and remains our decision today.”

During the hearings, Mr Mueller, a former FBI Director, declined to go beyond his 448-page report, giving short answers and referring committee members to the text of his findings.

He repeatedly stressed the importance of broader concerns over external interference in US politics rather than the inability to charge or exonerate the President.

“Over the course of my career I have seen a number of challenges to our democracy,” he said.

“The Russian Government’s effort to interfere in our election is among the most serious.

“Much more needs to be done in order to protect against this intrusion, by the Russians but others as well.”

President Trump has been extremely critical of Mr Mueller’s investigation, calling it “the greatest witch hunt in American history” and claiming Mr Mueller wanted to be appointed to succeed James Comey as FBI Director.

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