U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller said on Wednesday his probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election was never going to end with criminal charges against President Donald Trump but he did not clear him and indicated it was up to Congress to decide whether he should be impeached.
In his first public comments since starting the investigation in May 2017, Mueller said Justice Department policy prevented him from bringing charges against a sitting president or filing sealed charges, telling reporters it was “not an option we would consider.”
But he also said his two-year investigation did not clear Trump of improper behavior and, while he did not use the word “impeachment,” he pointed out there were other ways to hold presidents accountable.
“The Constitution requires a process other than the criminal justice system to formally accuse a sitting president of wrongdoing,” Mueller said as he announced his resignation from the Justice Department.
Congressional Democrats are debating whether to try to move ahead with impeachment in the Democratic-majority U.S. House of Representatives, even though the Republican-controlled Senate would be unlikely to complete the process outlined in the U.S. Constitution for removing a president from office by convicting him.