- Brian Ach/Getty Images
- Hillary Clinton on Tuesday said that based on the Mueller report President Donald Trump likely would’ve been indicted if he were “any other person.”
- Clinton cited the fact it’s against Justice Department guidelines to indict a sitting president, which special counsel Robert Mueller highlighted in his report.
- The former presidential candidate said impeachment should “be something undertaken in a really serious, diligent way, based on evidence.”
NEW YORK CITY – Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Tuesday argued that special counsel Robert Mueller’s report showed President Donald Trump would’ve been indicted for obstruction of justice if not for the fact he’s president and protected by Justice Department guidelines.
“I think there’s enough there that any other person who had engaged in those acts would certainly have been indicted. But because of the rule in the Justice Department that you can’t indict a sitting president, the whole matter of obstruction was very directly sent to the Congress,” Clinton said at the Time 100 summit in New York City.
As part of his probe into Russian election interference, Mueller looked into possible instances of obstruction of justice by Trump. In other words, the special counsel investigated whether Trump tried to hinder the inquiry in an illegal way.
The report detailed 11 potential instances of obstruction by the president, and said Trump’s “efforts to influence the investigation were mostly unsuccessful, but that is largely because the persons who surrounded the President declined to carry out orders or accede to his requests.”
The special counsel ultimately declined to make a “traditional prosecutorial judgment” on the issue of obstruction, but also did not fully exonerate Trump.
“If we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the President clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state,” the report stated. “Based on the facts and the applicable legal standards, however, we are unable to reach that judgment.”
“The evidence we obtained about the President’s actions and intent presents difficult issues that prevent us from conclusively determining that no criminal conduct occurred,” the report also said. “Accordingly, while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.”
Mueller outlined three main reasons why he didn’t indict Trump for obstruction, including that it’s against Justice Department guidelines to indict a sitting president, and essentially said the ball is now in Congress’s court.
Along these lines, Clinton on Tuesday said the House Judiciary Committee should continue to investigate Trump but said Democrats should be cautious about discussions of impeachment.
“The Mueller report is part of the beginning. It’s not the end,” Clinton said.
The former presidential candidate said impeachment should “be something undertaken in a really serious, diligent way, based on evidence.”
— TIME (@TIME) April 23, 2019