Robert Mueller’s statement today could have served only one purpose — to breath life into Democrat attempts to commence impeachment proceedings against Trump.

Mueller didn’t add any substance to the 400-page report, and most of his statement was related to procedures, including his resignation, the closing of the special counsel’s office, and his desire not to testify about the report beyond the report itself.

The substance of the statement on Russia collusion/conspiracy was brief and shut the door. There was insufficient evidence to charge a broader conspiracy as to Russian interference.

But most of the substance was on obstruction. Mueller reiterated that the Office of Special Counsel could not clearly determine that Trump did not commit a crime, or it would have said so. “‘If we had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so.”

This is a completely unfair standard and not what prosecutors normally due — investigations are not to find that a person did not commit a crime, but to find if the person did commit a crime.

More important, Mueller made clear that he considered the Special Counsel’s Office bound by DOJ policy against charging a sitting president with a crime, so his office never reached a determination one way or the other. Mueller made clear that under the Constitution, there were other mechanisms for dealing with a president accused of wrongdoing. Without mentioning impeachment proceedings, Mueller certainly must have intended to suggest it.

If that is Mueller’s view, that his office’s hands were legally tied from even reaching a decision, then why investigate at all? And why issue an opinion that he could not find “with confidence” the president was not guilty? Mueller could have expressed an opinion on guilt short of charging the president, much as he expressed an opinion that he could not find the president clearly not guilty.

This entire media appearance was a hand grenade thrown into the political process.

Nancy Pelosi has been under enormous pressure to green light impeachment proceedings. She has resisted it because of the political damage it likely would cause to Democrats in 2020.

I don’t see how she holds off now. Mueller likely force Pelosi to go to a place politically she didn’t want to go.

Mueller breathed life into impeachment, but in doing so may have reelected Trump for the very reasons Nancy Pelosi did not want to go the impeachment route.

UPDATE:

I appeared on the Tony Katz Show to discuss my take, just minutes after Mueller’s statement:

“What I took away from what Mueller just said is that Nancy Pelosi is going to have an extremely difficult time holding off the portion of her caucus who want to impeach Trump – or at least start formal proceedings.

What [Mueller] did is he basically said, ‘We are not exonerating the President on obstruction of justice, but we’re also not saying he committed a crime because we are prohibited from saying such a thing. And therefore, it is up to others under the constitution to look into that.’ And there’s obviously at this point Congress and the impeachment process.

So while Mueller did not say Trump committed obstruction – he didn’t even say there was sufficient evidence – he basically said ‘that’s for Congress.’ Therefore, my big takeaway from this is that I don’t see how Nancy Pelosi keeps on plugging the dyke on the calls to start formal impeachment proceedings.”

 
 
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