Mueller Report Makes No Determination On Obstruction Of Justice

Mar 24, 2019
Originally published on March 24, 2019 7:43 pm
Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

We're going to turn back to Carrie Johnson, our national justice correspondent, for more on this whole question of whether or not President Trump obstructed justice in the investigation into his campaign. Carrie.

CARRIE JOHNSON, BYLINE: Yeah, I've been reading this letter written by the attorney general, Bill Barr, to Congress with an eye toward when he quotes Bob Mueller directly and when he paraphrases. And very importantly, Michel, with respect to obstruction, Bob Mueller says while this report does not conclude that the president committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him. Now those are direct words from the Mueller report.

In fact, they're not drawing a conclusion one way or another about prosecuting the president for obstruction. Instead, the attorney general, Bill Barr, his deputy, Rod Rosenstein, reached into that issue and themselves decided that the evidence was insufficient to prosecute the president for obstruction. They say that many of the president's actions, like firing the former FBI Director Jim Comey, took place out in the open in public view. And they say that because the special counsel did not find an underlying crime or wrongdoing by the president with respect to this conspiracy or collusion, it weighed on his intent.

I've got to tell you, I've been hearing from law professors who say you can be guilty of conspiracy even if the conspiracy doesn't succeed. And you can be guilty of obstruction even if the underlying investigation goes nowhere. So that conclusion is already being second-guessed by lawyers out in the country. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.