Well everyone, the moment we've all been waiting for has finally arrived. Since Special Counsel Robert Mueller formally submitted his investigation's report in April, the public has been dying to know whether he would actually testify in front of Congress. Many of us never expected this day to come, but on Wednesday, July 24, the special counsel took the hot seat and gave us the goods. Everyone has been eagerly awaiting this moment, and these tweets about Mueller saying Trump could be charged when he leaves office has Twitter in a frenzy. Elite Daily reached out to the White House for comment on the remark, but did not immediately hear back. As of publication, the president has not been officially accused of or been charged with any crime.
On July 24, Mueller sat in front of the House Judiciary Committee to discuss his two-year investigation into whether the Trump campaign actively colluded with Russian operatives during the 2016 presidential election. Even though Mueller has stated that there was no evidence to prove that the Trump campaign, or President Donald Trump, had committed collusion or obstruction of justice, clearly politicians weren't entirely convinced. While most of the testimony consisted of representatives grilling Mueller, there was one huge moment that stuck out. Believe it or not, it was courtesy of a Republican.
During the testimony, Rep. Ken Buck of Colorado asked Mueller whether President Donald Trump could be charged with obstruction after he left office. Without a second of hesitation, Mueller replied that he could.
"Could you charge the president with a crime after he left office?" Buck asked.
"Yes," Mueller replied without hesitation.
Buck reiterated his question. "You believe you could charge the President of the United States with obstruction of justice after he left office?" he asked Mueller.
"Yes," Mueller said again.
Mueller's investigation has been a heated subject among the public and high-profile politicians alike. On April 18, a redacted version of Mueller's report was released to the public, which stated that although there was no evidence to prove the president obstructed justice, the report does not completely exonerate him. The White House did not previously respond to Elite Daily's request for comment on details alleged in the Mueller report.
In his report, Mueller noted that Department of Justice (DOJ) policy prohibited the indictment of a sitting president, and as his office was bound by that policy, the investigation had avoided "an approach that could potentially result in a judgment that the President committed crimes," which the president would not be able to respond to. The report found that the Trump 2016 campaign had not conspired or coordinated with Russian operatives, but had expected to benefit from Russian election meddling. However, on obstruction of justice, the report declined to come to a decision, and noted that if investigators "had confidence" that the president did not commit obstruction, they would say so. "While this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him," the report said.
Well, we might have had to wait a week, but Buck's moment with Mueller was definitely worth the suspense. Naturally Twitter was ready at their keyboards the moment Mueller sat down for his testimony. Once Mueller stated that Trump could, theoretically, be charged with a crime once he left the White House, Twitter essentially blew up with commentary.
That might not have been the answer Buck was expecting (or wanting), but it speaks volumes to Mueller's findings. After all, Mueller had been relatively quiet about the investigation, not releasing any statements until a rare public appearance on May 29. That day, Mueller stated that charging Trump with a crime was never considered an option considering the DOJ policy that a sitting president cannot be indicted.
The special counsel had been reluctant to testify in front of Congress since formally ending his investigation in May. Despite his initial refusal, Mueller agreed to testify in front of the House's Intelligence and Judiciary Committees on June 25, and people were initially expecting to see the special counsel's testimony on July 17. However, the House Intelligence and Judiciary committees announced on Friday, July 12 that Mueller's testimony would be delayed a week due to negotiations between him and House Democrats.
Mueller's testimony to Congress might be one of the most anticipated political events this year. Even if the special counsel isn't thrilled about his appearance, clearly Twitter is having a good time.