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Mueller: Charging Trump was not an option

US Special Counsel Robert Mueller has said charging President Donald Trump with a crime was not an option, in his first comments on the Russia inquiry.

He did not rule out giving testimony in Congress but said he would not give any information that was not in his report.

Mr Mueller concluded there was no collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign, but did not exonerate the president of obstruction of justice.

Reacting on Twitter, Mr Trump said: “The case is closed! Thank you.”

The president added: “Nothing changes from the Mueller Report. There was insufficient evidence and therefore, in our Country, a person is innocent.”

The investigation, which started in 2017, has led to 35 people being charged, including several who were part of Donald Trump’s campaign and administration.

Mr Mueller said he did not believe it was “appropriate to speak further” and that he would not provide any further information. “The report is my testimony,” he said.

Democratic lawmakers are seeking to have him testify in Congress.

Robert Mueller didn’t break much new ground in his eight-minute statement announcing the official end of the special counsel investigation. Instead, he highlighted in bold what he views as the key points of nearly two years of work.

Mr Mueller started and ended by emphasising that America during the 2016 election was under attack by malign foreign actors. He said those allegations deserve the attention of every American.

In the portion of his investigation into possible ties between Russia and the Trump campaign, Mr Mueller said there was “insufficient evidence to charge a broader conspiracy” – hardly the complete vindication the president asserts.

When it comes to obstruction of justice, he chipped away further at the president’s defences. Mr Trump wasn’t exonerated, “charging the president” wasn’t an option.

If Mr Mueller has his way, his role in this drama is at an end. His report speaks for itself, he said, and he wouldn’t engage in “conclusions or hypotheticals about the president”.

That may not be enough for Democrats in Congress, who still want to question Mr Mueller in person. If Mr Mueller is to be believed, however, all they need to know – all he will offer them – is written in the pages of his report. –BBC

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