White House Responds to Mueller’s Statements, Says Nothing New Reported: Sanders

By Zachary Stieber

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said that the Trump administration is prepared for impeachment proceedings but noted that special counsel Robert Mueller said nothing new in his brief remarks on May 29.

Mueller spoke for the first time since submitting his report on Russian interference into the 2016 election to Attorney General William Barr. Mueller reiterated some points his team made in the report and took no questions. He also said he hoped to never speak about the report again in public and that he was resigning to return to private life.

“There was no real news in there. He reiterated the points that he’d already made in the report and we agree with him. There was no collusion. There was no conspiracy. And we consider this case closed. He completed his investigation. Now he’s closed his office and it’s time for everybody to move on. He’s going back to his private life and we think everybody else should too,” Sanders said.

She also hit back at Mueller’s unusual statements regarding his team’s decision regarding obstruction. The team said it did not establish conspiracy or cooperation between Russians and Trump’s campaign but the special counsel said his team couldn’t exonerate Trump on obstruction charges.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders speaks to the press on the driveway of the West Wing of the White House in Washington, on May 29, 2019. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders confers with staff before answering questions at the White House in Washington on May 29, 2019. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Prosecutors typically gather enough evidence to charge someone with a crime; if they don’t, or if the person isn’t convicted, then that person is presumed innocent.

“If Bob Mueller had determined that there was a crime, he would have had a moral obligation to report it. To put that into his report. He didn’t,” Sanders said.

“He came to a very explicit conclusion on that front that there was no collusion and there was no conspiracy.”

sarah sanders on mueller
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders speaks to the press on the driveway of the West Wing of the White House in Washington,on May 29, 2019. (Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)

Mueller presented 10 cases his team said may have constituted obstruction. Attorney General William Barr and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein reviewed the cases and additional evidence and “ruled that the evidence developed by the special counsel is not sufficient to establish that the president committed an obstruction-of-justice offense,” Barr said at a mid-April press conference.

While Mueller claimed in his appearance that his team couldn’t charge the president with a crime because the Office of Legal Counsel found it would be unconstitutional, Sanders noted that Barr was clear that he didn’t take that opinion into account.

mueller speaks on may 29
Special counsel Robert Mueller speaks on the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 Presidential election, at the Department of Justice in Washington on May 29, 2019. (Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)
Attorney General William Barr
Attorney General William Barr speaks about the release of the redacted version of the Mueller report as Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein (R) and Acting Principal Associate Deputy Attorney General Ed O’Callaghan listen at the Department of Justice in Washington on April 18, 2019. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) was among the Democratic leaders reacting to Mueller’s statements, saying that the statements indicated the necessity of Congress investigating Trump.

When reporters asked about Congress probing Trump, Sanders said there was no point.

“That’s not necessary because it’s already been done. They spent two years. They interviewed 500 people. They looked at over a million pages in documents, over 50 subpoenas, and made the determination there was no collusion. Again, that’s the entire reason for the special counsel. They’ve concluded it,” she said.

“Just because Democrats don’t like the results of the 2016 election or the Mueller report it doesn’t mean they get a do-over. It’s sad that they have no message that they have no agenda. And the hypocrisy of the process that they’re going through, and what they’re going to do to the country, that doesn’t hurt the president. It hurts the American people and that’s unfair and they should be ashamed of themselves.”